Athens will seek IRS help in bid to curb tax evasion, raise revenues

18 July 2016
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Greece’s finance ministry leadership is reportedly considering a request towards America’s well-known Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for assistance to further combat tax evasion, increase revenues and meet memorandum targets.

The development would come almost 20 years after the last IRS mission to Greece proved fruitless, given that press reports at the time had IRS agents perplexed at the tax system in effect in Greece at the time. A series of recommendations by the IRS in the 1990s also remained on paper.

Nevertheless, seven years into a steep recession and with fiscal goals mandated by institutional creditors enshrined in the third memorandum, any deviation from fiscal targets now activate an automatic spending cuts mechanism, dubbed the “cutter” by local media and the opposition.

With public sector wages and pensions among the first “targets” of an activated “cutter”, the leftist government and its junior populist-rightist coalition partner are weary of falling short of revenue targets.

According to reports, the general secretary of the finance ministry’s revenue department, G. Pitsilis, is preparing an official letter to request IRS know-how and agents.

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