Greece steps up fight against tax evasion in tourism


Greek authorities announced this week that tourism businesses, mainly in popular destinations, will face on-site checks by special tax units of the Independent Authority of Public Revenues (AADE).

Special anti-fraud units will carry out audits daily for the purpose of ensuring compliance with tax laws and primarily to identify violations related to the failure to issue or accurately issue receipts.

Penalties violations include suspension of store operations for periods of 48 hours to three years, as well as heavy fines. Businesses that failed to issue retail receipts or issued inaccurate receipts will be subject to a fine equal to 50% of the corresponding VAT of the unissued receipts or a fine equal to 50% of the VAT difference of the amount displayed on the receipt.

Fines will be doubled for repeat offenders. Additionally, establishments may be closed by special order which will be publicly displayed in English stating that it has been “sealed due to tax offences”.

Violators in 15 special categories of businesses that cannot be closed will face fines between 1,000 and 60,000 euros. These professionals include hotels, hostels, furnished rooms, apartments, and short term house rental; campsites; car, motorbike, moped, boat and plane rental companies; tourist bus services; pharmacies; doctors and dentists.

Crete.  Photo source: Visit Greece

Photo source: Visit Greece

According to AADE’s action plan, more than 48,000 on-site inspections are planned for 2022, with a particular focus on Agios Nikolaos, Rethymno and Chania (Crete), Santorini, Corfu, Komotini, Kymi (Evia), Kos, Mykonos, Naxos, Nafplio, Paros, Preveza, Samos, Syros for the months of July, August and September.

It should be noted that in 2019, one in three businesses in Greece appeared to have breached tax laws, according to AADE, with tourism-related businesses and taxi services being among the main culprits.

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