|Greece fails on tax collection: auditors
EU and IMF auditors have criticised Greece for failing to address long-term failings on tax collection, a key requirement for the crisis-hit country to get back on its feet.
The draft report's Greek version, released by an association of tax collectors, said reforms in tax management were "fragmented'' and "muddled.''
Greece in 2012 managed to collect just over 1.0 billion euros (HK$11.8 billion) in outstanding tax debts compared to a target of 2.0 billion, the auditors said, AFP reports.
But the state is still owed 55 billion euros, a sum it has little hope of ever collecting as many debtor companies are bankrupt.
"A visible risk is that tax administration will continue to follow a course of slow reform without eliminating political tampering or corruption,'' said the draft drawn up by EU and IMF auditors which included Brussels-based tax experts.
"It is rather unlikely that 2013 revenue targets will be met without immediate changes,'' it said.
The report noted that most tax inspectors are ageing and underpaid, with more than half over the age of 50 and with newcomers entitled to a salary of under 700 euros per month.
The OECD minimum wage for tax administrators is 134 percent of GDP per capita but in Greece the average is less than 50 percent.
And no bonuses are offered for target performance.
The auditors recommended that 200 inspectors be hired immediately and 500 next year whilst noting that hiring efforts had failed in 2012.
Greece is currently undergoing a scheduled EU-IMF audit that will determine whether it will earn a 2.8-billion-euro slice of loans from its bailout package in March.
Past research has systematically identified Greek tax offices as among the chief sources of graft in the country.