As published on ekathimerini.com, Monday 3 October, 2022.
Authorities have found a way to chase the admittedly pervasive tax evasion without hiring extra investigators, by turning over the job to citizens.
In the past 10 days, more than 90,000 citizens have downloaded the Appodixi (receipt) app, allowing them to scan the receipts they get for authenticity. The app can also determine whether the receipts are being submitted to an online platform set up by the tax authorities to automate processing.
Essentially, the number of inspectors has grown 19-fold. Before September 21, the day the application was activated, there were 5,000 inspectors employed by the Independent Authority for Public Revenue. And, of course, the number of citizens using the app will likely grow further.
In the first eight days, authorities received 17,231 notifications of suspicious receipts. Of those, 8,058 were eponymous and 9,173 anonymous. The incentive to make the complaints eponymously is the promise of a payment. The amount has not yet been determined – legislation is pending – but it is said that, for smaller receipts, those who notify authorities eponymously, will receive a reward 10 times the value of the receipt. Rewards will be capped at €2,000.
The eagerness to use the app may seem surprising in a society where “ratting out” is strongly frowned upon. But, when asked, many responded that they did not do it for the money but because of a sense of justice and the belief of wage earners, who are taxed at source and therefore cannot avoid taxes, that everyone should pay their dues. That most of the complaints are anonymous seems to bear this view out, unless anonymity was born of a fear of being exposed.
One gas station issuing doctored receipts was fined €500,000 and there will be extra sanctions starting in November.