Up to €60 billion in unpaid taxes by companies and individuals have been identified in Greece, but only €8 billion of these are believed to be collectible, according to the second Task Force report, published on Friday (16 March).
Only €956 million was collected in 2011, and the report said that as a result one of the main challenges in the debt-stricken state is: “to improve overall tax collection and enhance the fight against tax evasion”.
The report said that twelve member states had sent tax experts on mission to Greece as part of these ongoing efforts, and Germany has created a roster of 160 experts – some of whom have been brought out of retirement – who have volunteered to participate in the exercise.
Danish and French experts had been dispatched to assist with debt collection from high wealth individuals, and Spanish experts are advising on large tax-paying entities, the report claimed.
Greece set to conclude deals on tax evasion with other member states
The Greek government is about to establish a series of international co-operation agreements with other member states to prevent Greek citizens who have plied money into foreign property from escaping their national dues.
“In particular, solutions are being explored to help Greece to increase tax revenue on the allegedly vast amount s channeled to Switzerland by Greek nationals,” the Taskforce found.
The report came in the same week that details emerged of a huge internal crackdown on corruption in Greece.
Greek authorities made first steps in fight against corruption
In the first move of its kind, 100 civil servants were suspended after a sting operation mounted by the Greek financial police, following the earlier arrest of two officials for awarding investment grants in return for backhanders.
The former European Commissioner, and now minister of development, Anna Diamantopouolou, said: “We are going to unravel this knitted pullover of corruption.”
Presenting the Taskforce report in Brussels on Friday, chief Horst Reichenbach said that more needed to be done to help release cohesion funds into solid projects for growth in Greece.
He said that Commission President José Manuel Barroso would publish a new report in April containing new measures to encourage growth in Greece.
Reichenbach said that the Barroso report would focus on structural reforms and measures designed to create a better environment for business to take root in Greece.