Huge hair­cut to dodgers’ fines

Bill shows Fi­nance Min­istry is desperate to in­crease col­lec­tion rate from tax evaders of pre­vi­ous years

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU & SOTIRIS NIKAS

The Fi­nance Min­istry is again mak­ing over­tures to tax dodgers who have in the past pro­duced fake tax de­tails or bo­gus in­voices, ask­ing them to join a par­tic­u­larly fa­vor­able scheme of­fered by the gov­ern­ment in Au­gust 2015 that slashes their fines.

A tax bill tabled in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day shows that tax­pay­ers whose cases had been iden­ti­fied by July 2015 and are still pend­ing or at the ar­bi­tra­tion com­mit­tee stage, or who have not yet been is­sued with a fine, will have their fines cut by be­tween 50 and 90 percent on the con­di­tion that they pay them by Oc­to­ber 30.

It is noted that the left­ist-led gov­ern­ment’s prac­tices are not at all in har­mony with SYRIZA’s rhetoric de­vel­oped in pre­vi­ous years when it was still in op­po­si­tion and ac­cused pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments of grant­ing fa­vors to ma­jor tax evaders.

Min­istry of­fi­cials say that the clause was in­cluded in the bill due to the need for an in­crease in the col­lec­tion of fines, as the pre­vi­ous – higher – fines proved im­pos­si­ble to col­lect.

An­other clause in the bill pro­vides for fines for min­istry of­fi­cials who vi­o­late the rules on clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion. These may range be­tween 1,000 and 100,000 euros.

The bill also pro­vides for the abo­li­tion of the Sin­gle Prop­erty Tax (ENFIA) dis­count for tax­pay­ers whose rev­enues from in­ter­est ex­ceed 300 euros per year, and for the pub­li­ca­tion of the names of ma­jor debtors to so­cial se­cu­rity funds, as was the case with debtors to the tax author­i­ties.

And all this is tak­ing place while the manag­ing di­rec­tor of the In- 559.72 1.1072 ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, Chris­tine La­garde, is in­sist­ing that the IMF is not yield­ing on its po­si­tions at all: “We must con­tinue to be strict and dis­ci­plined,” she stated yes­ter­day, show­ing that the ne­go­ti­a­tions on la­bor re­form and other is­sues of the sec­ond bailout re­form will be very tough this fall. La­garde also ad­mit­ted that Greece has been a dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ence for every­one, par­tic­u­larly for the Greeks them­selves.

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