New research nails structural evasion as being endemic among the powerful

Tax cheats have robbed Greece of some 11.2 billion euros, say Greek and American researchers who used bank records to analyse the likely tax evasion level.

The method is precisely the one used by private   banks to determine the real income of loan seekers. Surprise, surprise, this is more accurate than looking at tax records, often themselves falsified in the first place. The study concluded that the true income of the average Greek is about 1.92 times larger than the tax declaration.
During the 2009 tax year, evaders failed to report a whopping €28 billion euros which, at a tax rate of 40%, represents nearly a third
But this is where it gets interesting: the top tax-evading occupations were doctors, lawyers, engineers….and Parliamentarians. The Greek
parliament recently rejected a bill that would have targeted tax evaders in this manner. Why ever might that have been?

The total evasion figure is seven times that of the Samaras shortfall of €4bn to qualify for the next bailout tranche. Should Greece be kicked out of the euro on that basis, the Greek elites will have nobody to blame but themselves. They won’t do that, of course: but the ordinary person being asked to pay for this mess will.

“Evasion simply shifts its methods once discovered,” said an Austrian tax lawyer I know. This was confirmed by one of the researchers involved in the Greek study, who told the media last week, “People would immediately change their banking practices” if the Troika insisted on cracking down on the evasion.

We must all grow up and face it: the Greek elites are incurably dishonest and corrupt.

Says an Athenian Slog contact:

“Even if you catch the bastards, they have friends high up, and bribes will be paid to stop the investigation going to trial”.

Earlier this year, authorities charged 200 people with tax evasion, but failed to obtain a single high-level prosecution. This month, a group of seven retired and active tax officers, four of whom were high-ranking administrators, were sentenced to 70 years in prison for embezzling 28 million euros, only to be released pending an appeal. Few Greek Sloggers think they will go down.

See also: The EU’s new idea in Spain – bank investment haircuts for the poor.