Bank of Greece: “Stricter penalties key to combat tax evasion”

The Bank of Greece published a study by Associate Professor Athanasios Tangalakis on tax audits and violations, which was included in the Bank’s latest financial report. According to Mr. Tangalakis, aside from intensifying tax audits, the state must increase and impose appropriate penalties.

Mr. Tangalakis’ study was based on the data supplied to him by the Financial and Economic Crime Unit (SDOE) from their tax audits and investigations during the summer months in areas of high tourist and financial activities, throughout the country’s 13 regions.

The study showed that an increase of audits did curb tax violations, when taking into account the distinct characteristics of each of the 13 regions. Areas with higher unemployment rates, poor education divs and high tourist activity (such as the islands) saw a greater compliance with tax obligations, in anticipation of improved financial conditions.

The increase of tax audits is useful in tackling tax evasion and increasing the efficiency of the government revenue collection services, however the study points out that the state must be in the position to enforce suitable penalties in order to be able to collect the fines.

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