At­tacks won’t stop tax au­di­tors

Fi­nance Min­istry says busi­nesses where in­spec­tors face phys­i­cal vi­o­lence will have to un­dergo sec­ond au­dit

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Fi­nance Min­istry is plan­ning to send tax in­spec­tors back to busi­nesses where au­di­tors have been phys­i­cally at­tacked. In­spec­tors have al­ready re­ceived in­struc­tions for deal­ing with busi­nesses where they face vi­o­lence – which are usu­ally the most likely to en­gage in tax eva­sion. The in­struc­tions state that the au­di­tors can re­quest po­lice as­sis­tance at any time.

Checks in re­cent days have seen at­tacks on au­di­tors on My­conos, in­clud- ing an in­ci­dent at an is­land ho­tel where two tax in­spec­tors were ver­bally and phys­i­cally con­fronted. An­gry ho­tel staff forcibly re­moved and de­stroyed their find­ings.

The in­struc­tions list the in­for­ma­tion that should be sent by the au­di­tors to the Di­rec­torate of In­spec­tions in­clud­ing the date of the in­ci­dent, full de­tails of the busi­ness and staff, a de­scrip­tion of the in­ci­dent, de­tails of the com­pany’s ac­coun­tant and where le­gal ac­tion re­lat­ing to the event stands.

A regularly up­dated data­base will be cre­ated based on this in­for­ma­tion from which de­tails can be re­trieved for au­dit pur­poses.

Ac­cord­ing to state­ments made by Al­ter­nate Fi­nance Min­is­ter Try­fon Alex­i­adis to Mega TV, some 6,000 busi­nesses are in­spected ev­ery week. He noted, “We must find ways of sham­ing those who steal from the citizen and the state.” He also said they had al­ready un­cov­ered nu­mer­ous vi­o­la­tions with fake cash reg­is­ters as well as in­ci­dents of data tam­per­ing.

Alex­i­adis said that the mi­nance is ex­am­in­ing the use of credit cards to clock ex­pen­di­ture against an in­di­vid­ual’s tax-free limit. This will also in­clude med­i­cal ex­penses. The rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion is due to be ready by Oc­to­ber.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the eco­nomic team is con­sid­er­ing build­ing credit or debit card us­age into the tax-free thresh­old and of­fer­ing a higher taxfree thresh­old for taxpayers as an in- cen­tive for us­ing this pay­ment method. Alex­i­adis said that the phe­nom­e­non of tax eva­sion is mostly ob­served in tourist ar­eas and stated that stud­ies were be­ing car­ried out into ways of mo­ti­vat­ing cit­i­zens and busi­nesses to use credit cards.

Mean­while, the new tax as­sess­ment which records the value of all a tax­payer’s as­sets will be ap­pli­ca­ble from Novem­ber 2015. Those who fail to de­clare tax­able as­sets will face fines and penal­ties if caught.

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