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A new electronic system will track bank deposits as far back as the last 15 years and help fight tax evasion by the wealthy, Alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani told Sunday’s Avghi newspaper.

Valavani also said that cash registers will be linked electronically to the finance ministry’s central information system and that payment by cards will be expanded.

The bank deposit registry, she said, will give the authorities the ability to check immediately the real tax-paying ability of an individual. The registry “will facilitate the government’s plans for the option of ‘stating voluntarily’ – without penal offences – funds of tax evasion, not from kickbacks or other criminal activities, that exist or have gone through bank accounts in Greece and abroad,” Valavani explained.

Doctors and lawyers will also be able to connect to the system, she said. In terms of the 12,000-euro tax exemption for individuals, the minister said that it will be legislated in the second half of this year and will be applied to 2015 revenues. “The only people we finally hope to burden [with taxes] are those who have been taxed at much lower rates than their actual tax-payment ability – due to tax evasion or the so-called legal tax evasion,” Valavani said.

Asked to comment on the lower VAT status on Greek islands, she said the reasons for reduced VAT rates on popular Aegean islands like Mykonos and Santorini are no longer valid. “I do not understand why thoughts of aligning these two islands with the VAT rates of the rest of the country raises protests, for example, from the mayor of Lesvos – is it out of solidarity?” she asked of the northeast Aegean island’s mayor.

Among other things, she said that taxes on drinks and cigarettes were already very high.

Source: The National Herald
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