Suspicious incomes targeted

In a bid to take in 1.5 billion euros from tax dodgers this year, the National Economy and Finance Ministry is broadening the number of professions going under the taxman’s microscope due to suspiciously low income levels declared. Sources told Kathimerini that a total of 28 professional groups including taxi owners, plumbers, house painters and singers will be examined by the Finance Ministry’s Special Investigations Service (SIS). Suspicions at the Finance Ministry have been aroused due to the low revenues levels declared and the high amount of expenses deducted. According to 2005 data, plumbers paid an average of 507 euros in tax last year, singers 4,522 euros and painters 769 euros. Greece is looking for different ways to boost state revenues as the government has promised the European Commission that it will lower its budget deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product this year. Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis said last week that night clubs will be coming under review as many owners report less annual income than pensioners. Greek pensioners declare an average annual income of 8,900 euros while bar and restaurant owners show 5,200 and 8,150 euros respectively. Others professions to be targeted include doctors, actors and lawyers. Ministry sources said that certain professions appear to be operating in organized groups as a means of paying less tax. The year so far has started well for government revenues, which rose by a healthy 17.8 percent in January.

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