ATHENS – The results of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition’s promise to rein in tax cheats wasn’t made public in the government’s 2018 state budget sent to Parliament which didn’t reveal how much money was collected from them.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who reneged on anti-austerity promises and promised to “crush the oligarchy,” also made catching tax evaders a top priority but his imposition of an avalanche of tax hikes has driven up the phenomenon, figures show, pushing Greeks to find more ways to avoid paying as tax dodgers, politicians and the rich continue to largely escape a more than 7 ½-year-long economic crisis.
Authorities have imposed taxes and fines on hundreds of enterprises adding up to over 5 billion euros ($5.93 billion) but it wasn’t clear how much has been collected yet, the newspaper Kathimerini said.
The list of customs violations includes old and new cases, including a fine imposed on tobacco company SEKAP, whose owner – an ally of Tsipras – was exempted from paying the penalty and given a break.
Also detailed is the fine for unlawful fuel trade imposed on the company that owns the Agia Zoni II tanker which sank in the Saronic Gulf in September, releasing a large oil slick. It amounts to 411,471 euros ($487,690) the data showed.
There is another list of cases of tax law violation, but it does not include any names, probably because most of the enterprises and individuals concerned have resorted to the arbitration committee of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, the paper said.
The state has also imposed 153.7 million euros ($182.17 million) in fines this year concerning 918 cases of bogus and counterfeit invoices whose value added up to 297.9 million euros ($331.75 million) but it wasn’t indicated whether there were criminal prosecutions as well.
Data showed that the authorities shut down 165 enterprises last year for not issuing the necessary receipts.