Greece has the second highest rate of value added tax avoidance in the European Union, with the state coffers being robbed each year of revenue amounting to two years of revenue from the single property tax ( ENFIA).
The European Commission is calling on members of the bloc to step up efforts to contain VAT fraud, which amounts to more than 134 billion euros every year in the EU.
In Greece, the state loses €5.35 billion in VAT revenue on an annual basis, or around 25.8% of potential VAT revenue. This is the second rate after that of Romania and just ahead of Malta and Italy. It is also just over two sets of annual revenues from ENFIA which, until 2021, amounted to 2.65 billion euros per year.
The latest Commission report on the subject recommends that national tax administrations step up their efforts in areas such as risk analysis, automatic procedures and the exchange of information between Member States. He adds that online systems need to be upgraded and staff working on new technologies need to be increased.
Although VAT fraud in Greece remains among the highest in the bloc, the report highlights that this country has adopted advanced risk analysis models, as well as increased controls on cross-border transactions within the EU, where the greatest number of frauds is recorded.
In the 20 years from 2000 to 2019, Greece lost a total of over €120 billion in VAT revenue; this amount would have made government policies much easier in recent years, as it would have led to the reduction of several taxes that wage earners continue to pay, not to mention the reduction of the public debt.
Brussels issued a number of recommendations, such as cross-checking VAT registration data with third-party sources, examining the main dimensions of each country’s VAT fraud, improving cross-border cooperation between tax authorities, systematic checks based on risk indices, the creation or maintenance of a register of taxpayers active in e-commerce, etc.