Analysts from Alpha Bank, in a weekly release of financial developments, have blistered Greece’s tax services for failure to perform properly and said that people who pay taxes are unfairly bearing the brunt of the country’s economic crisis.
They said that instead of a coordinated attempt to collective overdue taxes during the country’s crushing economic crisis, the government instead assessed new taxes on people who pay them, while tax evaders continue to escape. New tax burdens are being put on businesses as well as workers, pensioners and the poor, further hindering the economy’s recovery and increasing the levels of overdue taxes because people can’t pay.
“Despite the exceptional satisfying developments in the fiscal adaption sector, the developments in the taxation system of the country comprise an exceptionally painful failure … of the state services, which are burdened with the task of collecting taxes,” the report said, including other fees imposed by the government in a desperate bid to bring in more money.
They stressed that state services have allowed the spread of tax evasion during a time when people who have taxes deducted automatically or those who pay promptly have been burdened with new higher tax rates. They said the system is unfair and puts the onus on people who have to pay to keep paying while those who don’t pay continue to largely escape prosecution, harming Greece’s image abroad at the same time.
Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras is pushing a bill to allow for jail time for convicted tax cheats. Currently, even major evaders face only a suspended sentence. Greece’s international lenders have been pushing for a crackdown on tax evasion but apart from some arrests that have not yielded the prosecution of a single major tax cheat, almost nothing has happened.