Curbing persistent tax evasion

The most provocative display of dereliction on behalf of the state mechanism concerns the collection of state revenues. The government, on the one hand, boasts that Greece has the highest growth index in the 15-country eurozone, while, on the other, we hear it lament every month about disappointingly low tax revenues and growing tax evasion. Who is to blame for this inexcusable leakage of state revenues? Obviously it is the government itself, because it has failed to put together an efficient tax system and gives a free rein to corrupt tax officials to make deals with dodgers. They take the lion’s share of potential revenues and leave the crumbs for the government to gather. Deputy Finance Minister Antonis Bezas was quite right when, in desperation, he yesterday added another 90 tax inspectors to the force. However, if the entire system is not cleaned up and revamped, with new directors placed in key positions in the tax offices, this measure will be only partially effective.