Transactions hidden at the touch of a key


The asphyxiatingly high tax demands on businesses in Greece have led to the evolution of tax evasion at retailers, which now involves more sophisticated methods using technological tricks at cash registers.

“We are coming up against a totally new problem for us: We enter a food service outlet to conduct our inspection and at the single tap of a button the owner can delete all recent transactions for which they have not issued customers with a receipt but only registered on a second electronic archive,” according to a tax inspector in northern Greece.

He is describing electronic tax mechanisms that operate in a similar way to those at fuel stations which cheat consumers through applications installed on pumps and the tills connected to them.

Those mechanisms are based on the official hardware-software systems that every enterprise has to use to reflect its accounts. However, in the law’s description of the tax mechanism, it mainly focused on the hardware, leaving the software at the mercy of malevolent applications.

For example, at a major food service enterprise in Katerini, central Macedonia, the inspection squads discovered that the quarterly turnover amounted to 1.65 million euros even though the electronic tax mechanism had only recorded 160,000 euros, or less than 10 percent.