Island players caught in tax checks

The financial crimes squad (SDOE) plans to shut down nearly 70 businesses for up to a month for violating tax laws as part of a crackdown aimed at boosting state revenues. SDOE has put together a list of island businesses to be penalized mainly for not issuing receipts to customers as a means of declaring lower income to authorities. The businesses, which include bars, restaurants, nightspots and tavernas, will be forced to shut down for between one and four weeks during September. Some will also be slapped with additional fines and penalties. According to Yiannis Kapeleris, SDOE’s general secretary, some 800 spot checks were conducted on businesses over June and July on Aegean islands which detected 15,000 tax violations. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou has ordered an investigation into complaints made against 25 employees at tax offices and customs points around the country. The complaints reportedly include bribery, having illegal sources of income and neglecting to perform their duties in a satisfactory manner. Despite the extra efforts to boost state income, the Finance Ministry has yet to appoint heads to a number of tax offices, hampering their ability to efficiently collect revenues. Sources believe that the ministry will have to «write off» this year’s performance on the revenue side, after missing its target in the first half of the year, and concentrate on upping revenues in 2011.