ATHENS – Conducting one of their occasional crackdowns, Greek tax inspectors closed down a number of businesses for the maximum 48 hours for an array of violations, including not giving out receipts.
Businesses put up with the closures because they can return to their operations and continue to evade paying taxes and it’s profitable to not give receipts and face brief shutdowns.
Violations were recorded mostly at restaurants and bars, beauty salons, children’s’ entertainment centers and even a wedding gown studio, the business newspaper Naftemporiki reported.
Two inspectors posing at customers at a private Athens hospital’s cafeteria over a period of two hours witnessed 48 transactions without the issuance of even one receipt, the paper said, but it wasn’t indicated whether it was also closed.
Employees of a nightclub in the central city of Larissa didn’t give receipts for the expensive sales of 13 bottles of liquor, 193 individual drinks and 152 flower baskets at a cost of some 5,400 euros ($6607) during a live show that typically features what is called “dog music,” kitschy shows.
The wedding gown studio, in the south-central city of Livadia, was fined for not issuing receipts worth 9,605 euros ($11,752) in one case and 3,205 euros ($3921) for another order but the amount of the fines weren’t reported.
Tax evasion is a kind of national sport and part of the culture of corruption in Greece. Technically, customers who aren’t given receipts don’t have to pay for a good or service but the exchange often means they can pay less if they don’t ask for one.
Other major cheats are said to be professionals such as doctors and lawyers, many of whom still don’t have Point-of-Service (POS) machines in their offices as required to take debit or credit cards, and who insist on cash instead so they can hide their income.