ATHENS – Greece’s faltering fight against tax evasion is getting some help from taxpayers who’ve been beset with harsh austerity measures – tax cheats are being turned in.
The number of people telephoning a hotline run by the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) for reports of alleged tax evasion has skyrocketed to some 200 calls a day, Kathimerini said.
The hotline, reachable by dialing 1517, was set up in 2008, when it received around 4,000 calls. In 2009 that number rose to 4,500, reaching 19,000 in 2010 when the debt crisis erupted in Greece. Since then, the calls have peaked at 200 daily, a rate which will bring this year’s total to 70,000 if it continues.
Six in 10 of the callers are reporting alleged tax violations by relatives, sources said. Another 20 percent are owners of small businesses reporting alleged transgressions by rival businesses. The final 20 percent of complaints are by disgruntled fired workers.
Greeks owe some 70 billion euros in unpaid taxes but despite well-publicized crackdowns, there hasn’t been a single major prosecution amid charges by critics that the government hasn’t been serious about going after high level evaders.