Winning the war on tax evasion

The anti-graft legislation drafted by National Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis is a first, decisive step against one form of anti-social behavior. In actual fact, tax dodging is extreme anti-social behavior on the part of that segment of the population who, by shirking their financial obligations, make illicit gains from depriving the state of much-needed funds for health, education and insurance policies. Tax evasion is, in fact, a serious crime when VAT is collected from consumers and not rendered to the state. The bill contains may welcome provisions aimed at improving the effectiveness of tax inspections and clamping down on corruption among tax officials. But let us have no illusions. Good as the proposed measures may be, they will only work if accompanied by harsh penalties for taxpayers and tax officials who habitually break the law. The battle will have been won when some of these transgressors have been thrown in jail.

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