ATHENS – Greece’s moves to lessen tax evasion will include a penalty up to 500,000 euros ($546,266) for property buyers using cash and canceling the deal to prohibit the purchase.
That measure will go into effect Jan. 1, 2024, under a bill sent to Parliament which stipulates that a real estate purchase and sale contract recording a payment in cash – which couldn’t be verified – would be void.
The minimum fine would be 10,000 euros ($10,925) to deter cash transactions which are common in Greece, especially with doctors, lawyers, professionals and service providers such as auto mechanics, plumbers and others.
This is done to avoid taxes that are as high as 45 percent and has led to people trying to hide their income, including in foreign banks, and has seen salaried workers bearing the brunt of the costs while many rich escape.
In the previous five years there were 338,511 real estate transactions worth 27.7 billion euros ($30.26 billion) Kathimerini said, and 42,613 for an amount of 462.24 million euros ($505.1 million) done in cash.
In another 41,741 deals the price was partially paid in cash, totaling 2.98 billion euros ($3.26 billion) showing just how much money is involved and not going into state coffers, prohibitive taxes leading many to hide the deals.
The Finance Ministry said it also wants to curb money laundering in which cash from criminal activities goes into making purchases of property to hide the source, real estate a favored method.
There will also be fines up to 20,000 euros ($21,850) for not putting documents for receipts and sales on the platform of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) and penalties for other violations.