Greece to seize tax dodgers' assets
14.08.13 @ 09:22
BRUSSELS - Greek tax authorities will seize the assets of businesses and individuals who do not settle their tax debts, the government said on Tuesday (13 August).
Under the plans, the Greek finance ministry will issue warnings that assets will be seized if the recipients do not arrange a payment plan within 20 days to those who owe more than €10,000.
The move is the latest attempt by the Greek government to clamp down on tax evasion.
An estimated €60 billion in unpaid taxes and social security contributions are currently owed to the Greek government, leaving a gaping hole in the country's budget.
Earlier this week, figures released by the Greek finance ministry revealed that tax revenues from the first six months of 2013 were about €1.5 billion behind target.
While revenues have been badly hit by the country's six-year recession which has wiped out over 20 percent of the country's economy, tax collection remains one of Greece's biggest budgetary problems.
In July, the country's finance ministry set up a five person committee, including two former tax collection chiefs from Ireland and Sweden, to advise the government.
The Troika, which represents Greece's creditors from the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, demanded an independent tax advisory board as a condition for Greece's aid programme.
Greece currently has one of the lowest tax collection rate as a proportion of GDP.
According to the EU's statistical agency Eurostat. Taxes worth 34.9 % of GDP were collected by Greek tax authorities in 2011, with only Ireland and Spain having a lower collection rate.