IMF help on taxes

Officials of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) who met with Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis yesterday will submit a report with proposals to the government on fighting tax evasion and avoidance, illegal trading, and measures for simplifying the tax system and making it more effective. Alogoskoufis presented the IMF officials with data from a report by the government’s Council of Economic Experts, which shows that the growth rate of budget revenues in recent years has been particularly low and as a rule has lagged behind projections. This rate, before tax rebates, was 4.9 percent, against a projection of 8.8 percent in 2001, 5.7 percent against 9.2 percent in 2002, and just 0.2 percent against a projected 8.5 percent in 2003. In 2004, there was a marked rise to 10.9 percent, but this still fell short of the projection of 14.5 percent. Alogoskoufis blamed previous PASOK governments for budgeting unrealistically high revenue growth rates which simply aimed at dressing up the figures. The IMF team will hold a series of contacts with senior government officials and top-level representatives from the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV), the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry and private companies.

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