8 Days Left Until Greece Raids the Island Estates of its Wealthiest Citizens
This past Friday, the Greek government warned its tax-dodging countrymen it has begun a roughly ten-day countdown until it will be coming after tax cheats with a vengeance. Desperate times call for desperate measures and, to get the money it’s owed, the tax authorities will start taking over and selling the Aegean island estates owned by its most affluent, but not tax-compliant, citizens.
According to The Scotsman:
“Finance ministry checks showed 990 people who owed more than 6.7 million euros in taxes owned a total of 2,917 real estate assets on the scenic islands of Mykonos and Santorini, worth more than 288 million euros. The ministry gave tax dodgers until July 20 to settle their debts.
“‘After this deadline, there will be urgent procedures of forced payment, including auctions,’ it said in a statement. Greece has pledged to improve its dismal tax collection record as part of a mammoth 110-billion euro bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
“Tax evasion, particularly by well-off citizens such as doctors and lawyers, is rampant in Greece. Estimates on the size of the shadow economy range between 10 to 30 per cent of GDP.”
If Greece is the harbinger of what’s to come in an overly-indebted US, it’s worth paying attention to how this threat turns out. The US has already taken to executing tax punishment deadlines on wealthy citizens who have used tax shelters in Switzerland. As the deficit and debt situation gets worse it won’t be a surprise to see the US get on this same Greek-style bandwagon and continue escalating its tax enforcement measures domestically.
You can read more details in The Scotsman’s coverage of how debt-ridden Greece is getting tough on its tax dodgers.