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Tax crackdown in Greek islands

- by Archimedes

Tax crackdown in the Greek islands.

Greek holiday islands have been raided by a special financial crimes unit in a crackdown on tax dodgers among Greek island hotel and restaurant chains. The Greek Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) sent officers from Athens to several popular Greek island resorts to carry out spot inspections. The raids uncovered many firms evading tax.

The biggest haul was on the holiday island of Rhodes where tax officers found all 11 of 11 businesses raided were found to be breaking tax laws.

On the island of Santorini, they found 115 out of 149 businesses (77%) suspected of evading taxes.

A similar percentage was recorded on the island of Mykonos, where 103 of 140 businesses were suspected, and on Paros where 75 out of 116 businesses checked were thought to be breaking tax laws.

Hotel and restaurants owners were accused of a variety of tax offences such as not issuing receipts, issuing fake receipts, not keeping proper accounting records and by not passing on VAT tax revenues to the state.

On Mykonos, the 103 businesses caught breaking the law committed a combined total of 7,330 offences and on Paros, a total of 75 businesses committed 5,119 offences, according to reports. Many are thought to be repeat offenders.

The SDOE team conducted spot checks on more than 700 businesses between April 30 and August 8. The decision to use tax officers from Athens rather than to rely on local personnel is thought to have helped increase the effectiveness of the checks.

The Finance Ministry has to raise €5.4 billion each month until the end of the year in order to reach its budget targets. Clamping down on tax evaders is seen as one of the key ways to increase revenues.

The Greek government has brought in private sector lawyers, accountants and inspectors in the crackdown on tax dodgers and those who owe money to the state. The Finance Ministry said recently that it was owed €37 billion in unpaid tax from a total of 14,700 individuals and organisations.