Electronic net to catch evaders

Starting in 2006, companies and the self-employed will have to submit annual lists of transactions with clients and suppliers in electronic form, as the Finance Ministry is hoping to improve cross-checking in the battle against the widespread issuing of forged and bogus invoices for goods and services. The decision was adopted at a meeting with professional accountants and professional associations yesterday, which was called after recent probes into the annual lists revealed an orgy of tax evasion. The number of fictitious clients and non-existent tax registration numbers declared by many professionals and traders are estimated to be in excess of 10,000, while very extensive non-correspondence between client and supplier lists was also established. For instance, many firms declared they bought goods worth one million euros, while suppliers stated they delivered goods worth only half that amount. In investigations conducted in 2004, mainly into previous fiscal years, the use of forged and bogus invoices was established in 21,445 instances. The total value of such documents, issued by 434 existing or fictitious enterprises, was about 470 million euros. Ministry officials have also begun checking the Social Security Foundation (IKA) to establish the extent of tax and contribution evasion from salary services tax, with primary figures showing significant evasion in contributions to social security funds. During the meeting yesterday, the ministry’s general secretary, Dimosthenis Anagnostopoulos, stressed the need for an immediate transition to electronic taxing which would have a very positive contribution to the simplification of transactions between the state and its citizens. He also exulted the crucial role of the ministry’s cooperation with professional associations for electronic services to be improved and promoted. Professional bodies were also informed about the upgrading process of TaxisNet, which is already underway. The project has been tendered, and bids have been submitted and are being evaluated.

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