OPINION

Tax evasion a national issue

The fact that tax evasion is hovering at 30 billion euros – that is, five times the total education budget – means that the theft of funds from the public coffers is more than just a moral offense. We must all realize that tax evasion undermines the future of the country, which must, annually, spend an increasing amount on health, education, social welfare, security and our overall prosperity. This is a complex problem, but the solution is simpler than it appears to be. After all, most Western countries have succeeded in cracking down on tax dodging. Their experience is invaluable to our legislators. Tax evasion is not exclusive to Greece, but the measures adopted by other states have curbed the damage. One of these measures should be simplifying the tax code. The wide plethora of laws in Greece, which were originally developed to serve the vested interests of the political class, leaves insufficient room for audits and creates the conditions for inspectors to become vulnerable to corruption, making it more likely that wrongdoers will get away with it. A more streamlined set of tax laws will ensure stricter implementation. Furthermore, making tax evasion a punishable crime is now an essential step. The problem of tax evasion must be reassessed from scratch. It is a problem of national importance and therefore requires a national plan to be solved. And this plan must be put into motion as soon as possible.