ATHENS – More than four years after he said he would rein in tax cheats, corruption and “crush the oligarchy,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ Radical Left SYRIZA government is sending out tax inspection teams on a safari hunting the rich and big firms.
The wealthy, politicians and tax cheats have largely escaped Greece’s nearly nine-year-long economic and austerity crisis that has seen workers, pensioners and the poor hammered with brutal measures, including tax hikes and new taxes.
Now inspectors will look at cases as long as three to five years back believed likely to yield revenues, said Kathimerini, due to the size of the incomes, without explanation why that hadn’t already been done.
The head of the Independent Authority of Public Revenue, Giorgos Pitsilis said the inspection mechanism will focus on specific cases stemming from monitoring reports, as well as those involving large tax rebates and transactions with other European Union countries as many Greeks hide their income in secret foreign accounts.
The decision provides for the monitoring authorities to perform some 2,500 checks in the coming months, said Kathimerini, although no prosecution of major tax cheats have been reported and leniency had been shown to celebrity tax evaders previously.
The hunt will look at suspicious Value Added Tax (VAT) transactions and try to find professionals who appear to have vanished, so as to deactivate their tax registration number and evade being found, with at least 120 inspections coming.