“Tax evasion is synonymous with anti-social behaviour. We should explain to the citizens why we accept that the average pensioner pays 938 euros in tax, the average worker 1,161 euros and 71% of self-employed people pay less than the minimum wage”, said Deputy Minister of Finance, Nikos Papathanasis, in an intervention of the plenary session of the Parliament. The resources that will come from the government’s interventions will be directed to the strengthening of health and education, as is also reflected in the 2024 Budget, said the Deputy Minister of Finance.

This bill delivers justice, brings revenue that is attributed to society, said Mr. Papathanasis and referred to what has been done and is planned to be done to limit tax evasion.

“The government received empty VAT at 23% and today it dropped to 15%. The goal is for the empty VAT to go to 9%, which is the European average”, said the Deputy Minister of Finance and added that to reduce tax evasion, eight actions of the Recovery Fund are already “running”: the digital transformation of tax and customs authorities, the action to speed up VAT refunds, the digital transformation of tax audits, the universal interconnection of cash registers and electronic invoicing, the codification and simplification of tax legislation, the new anti-smuggling framework, mainly for products subject to in EFC.

Under the Recovery Fund, reforms are also continuing, such as the modern institutional framework for state-owned enterprises, the reform of the accounting system and the codification and simplification of tax legislation.

Mr. Papathanasis stated that the interconnection of POS with cash registers will be completed within the first half of 2024 and with the new systems and new technology POS, they will bring additional revenue.

Measures in this direction, said the Deputy Minister of Finance, are the mandatory posting of income and expenses in myDATA, the electronic invoice, the increase of the fine to double the transaction, for entrepreneurs and businesses for using cash in transactions over 500 euros, the enforcement of measures in cases of violations in the fuel sector. So in this climate, Mr. Papathanasis addressed the opposition parties and asked which of the above they would not vote for.

In relation to measures to curb tax evasion by freelancers, the Deputy Finance Minister said that just 4% of freelancers pay 51% of the sector’s taxes. “This bill therefore gives a partial answer to the question, how is it possible in Greece that freelancers contribute 0.8% of GDP, when the average in Europe is 2.1%, that is, Greece is at 38% of the European average,” said the deputy finance minister. These measures, he added, are a “step forward” to reduce the VAT loophole. In particular, the measures for the self-employed are measures of “tax justice”.