As published on ekathimerini.com, Friday 19 February, 2021.
An extensive plan aimed at containing tax evasion and increasing transparency in Greece is on the Finance Ministry’s drawing board, with the support of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue. This was among the first draft projects proposed for funding from the Next Generation EU instrument.
It concerns the online connection of more than 600,000 tills and card terminals with the tax and inspection authorities. The rollout of the plan will start in the second half of the year, provided the economy has overcome the health crisis.
Ministry officials say that one of the main pillars of the reform plan is the strengthening of transparency and the combating of tax evasion through the replacement of hundreds of thousands of tills with new ones that will transmit data on the receipts that stores and enterprises issue in real time.
There are two targets in this plan: the online interconnection of the enterprises’ accounting departments with the tax authorities, which will pave the way for effective cross-checking against tax evasion, and the optimum service of corporations that will be spared the bureaucracy.
According to ministry sources, had those systems been in place today, the payment of the cheap state loans through the so-called Deposit To Be Returned emergency program, calculated on the monthly turnover of each company, would be a matter of minutes.
The procurement of the new tills to be linked to Taxisnet is one of the first national recovery plan projects to enter the Public Investments Program, and will be immediately funded through state resources, as the EU fund allows for the retroactive coverage of expenditure. Sources say the tender to that effect is set to be announced.
A second instrument in the tax administration’s hands is artificial intelligence, to be used for uncovering tax evasion cases, financed by the recovery fund. A senior ministry official says this concerns the so-called data mining process from large data pools in order to establish the sincerity of tax declarations.