Amnesty fails to lure back funds

Faced with only a fraction of the anticipated capital inflows, the government was forced yesterday to announce a three-month extension to the deadline for Greeks repatriating funds banked abroad under a special tax amnesty. The original six-month deadline expired today. But, according to Deputy Finance Minister Adam Regouzas, the public response was discouraging, with only 118.8 million euros in funds banked abroad being brought back to Greece. Initially, ministry officials had expected up to 20 billion euros to be repatriated. The measure, passed by law at the beginning of August, offered a tempting tax amnesty to any Greek owners of bank accounts, shares, bonds or mutual fund shares abroad who repatriated their funds. The law only allowed for a one-off, 3 percent tax on the funds, which ministry officials hoped would pull up to 600 million euros into the public coffers. Instead, the total tax revenues so far are 3.5 million. The measure got off to a bad start, being delayed for three months in the absence of a ministerial decision setting out the practical details of the process.

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