Gov’t pon­ders out­sourc­ing tax col­lec­tion

Kathimerini English - - Business - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKO­LAOU

The Fi­nance Min­istry is con­sid­er­ing bring­ing in pri­vate au­dit­ing com­pa­nies and ma­jor ac­count­ing of­fices to aid in the tax col­lec­tion process, ac­cord­ing to sources.

Min­is­ter Evan­ge­los Venize­los told jour­nal­ists cov­er­ing Par­lia­ment’s session on Tues­day that he is think­ing about out­sourc­ing the process, tak­ing a leaf out of the book of his Por­tuguese coun­ter­parts.

The first stage will pro­vide for au- dit­ing com­pa­nies to take on a me­di­at­ing role for the col­lec­tion and pay­ment to the state of con­firmed out­stand­ing debts.

If this proves suc­cess­ful, these com­pa­nies will then be given a more ac­tive role in rev­enue col­lec­tion.

A top min­istry of­fi­cial also said that the in­clu­sion of au­dit­ing com­pa­nies and ac­count­ing of­fices in the tax col­lec­tion mech­a­nism will mean the Fi­nance Min­istry will not have to worry about loss of rev­enues dur­ing pe­ri­ods of in­dus­trial ac­tion.

Ac­count­ing of­fices have held a sig- nif­i­cant role for a few years al­ready as their sig­na­ture is re­quired for self­em­ployed pro­fes­sion­als to set­tle their an­nual in­come tax. As a re­sult the min­istry has been able to block state­ments of bo­gus ex­penses by hun­dreds of thou­sands of self-em­ployed.

Ear­lier this year the Fi­nan­cial Times had rec­om­mended en­list­ing the pri­vate sec­tor in the battle against tax eva­sion in Greece, adding that the ex­ist­ing tax sys­tem would have only made sense if the state had been efficient enough.

The re­port, which was noted by Athens, added that were the col­lec­tion of taxes to be passed on to the pri­vate sec­tor, then the state tax col­lec­tors could be dis­missed with gen­er­ous sev­er­ance pack­ages if they were deemed to con­sti­tute an ex­ces­sive bur­den on the sys­tem.

Also on Tues­day, Venize­los an­nounced in Par­lia­ment that a com­mit­tee for the re­form of the tax sys­tem will be set up at the end of this week. He added that if Greece’s cred­i­tors agree to the changes to be pro­posed, the new sys­tem will come into force im­me­di­ately.

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