The Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE) of Greece has brought to light a new fraud, this time involving cash registers. The technique is rather simple: the controls that take place in Greek shops have a goal of making sure that every customer gets a receipt.
The controller goes into a store and walks around the tables to check if all the receipts are there. The receipts are often provided but the shopkeeper uses a fake receipt technique to avoid taxes. The cash registers which the shopkeeper uses to issue the receipts are not authorized by the Greek Ministry of Finance, which means they are fake or “ghost” cash registers.
A typical example is a cafeteria in Thebes, central Greece. The shopkeeper was using non authorized cash registers and during the past five years, he issued 102,977 receipts which he never submitted to the Public Financial Service (DOY) in order to pay the VAT or other taxes.
A SDOE’s official claimed that this businessman issued a huge number of receipts but he never paid a penny in taxes.
Another two similar scams were brought to light in Attica which makes SDOE believe that this phenomenon has extensively expanded.
“The ingenuity of tax dodgers is inexhaustible,” stated the official and revealed another method of income concealment detected by SDOE.
This method includes small devices used for taking orders. However, if someone messes with the software, these devices can also issue fake receipts. The customer is under the illusion that he has received his receipt and in case of an SDOE control, every table will have been provided a “legal” receipt, yet the Greek state will not collect a dime.
This system reveals the weaknesses of the Greek authorities. Some say that this might be the explanation for the recent decline in invoice violation.