Greece’s Finance Minister, Christos Staikouras accused the previous left-wing Tsipras government of overtaxing the Greek people triggering an increase in tax evasion.
Staikouras made the comments in a statement released on Thursday noting that since 2015, the SYRIZA government imposed 29 new taxes on individuals and legal entities which forced an increased in tax evasion to the tune of 3.0 billion euros in the past four years.
“In 2014, tax rates fell and the economy returned to economic growth, thereby reducing tax evasion” said the Minister.
Concerning the loss of revenue from tax evasion, the Minister cited a European Commission report on the so-called 'VAT gap', namely the difference between expected and actual VAT revenue, and said this "illustrated that the loss of revenue is significant and has been steadily increasing after 2014."
According to European Commission data, the 'VAT gap' in 2013 was calculated at 6.214 billion euros, in 2014 it decreased to 4.611 billion euros and has since been steadily increasing. In 2015 it was 5.660 billion euros, in 2016 it rose to 6.436 billion euros and 2017 to 7.399 billion euros.
Staikouras added that the choice of the current government is to gradually reduce the tax burden on households and businesses, and he stressed that "the substantial reduction of the ENFIA (property tax) has already been implemented, and further tax relief will follow in coming years, within the budgetary margins that exist each time," he concluded.