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Handelsblatt: The "tradition" of tax evasion in Greece

Featured Handelsblatt: The "tradition" of tax evasion in Greece

In a response from Athens, published on its website, economic review Handelsblatt refers to efforts to combat tax evasion. As it points out, "tax evasion has a tradition in Greece. The Greek government no longer wants to accept something like this and is announcing a series of measures." The newspaper's correspondent reports that “black employment is widespread, even among doctors.

According to research by the Institute of Applied Economics of the University of Tübingen, in February 2023, the shadow economy in Greece reaches 21.7% of the officially recorded GDP. Among the OECD member countries, only Italy has a higher percentage, with 21.8%. Germany appears in the middle places of the ranking with 10.2%".

And the Dusseldorf newspaper continues: "If we believe the tax returns, there are almost no rich Greeks. In 2022, out of 6.5 million taxpayers only 27,000 declared an annual income of more than 100,000 euros. Two out of three taxpayers declare an annual income of less than 10,000 euros.

As Handelsblatt points out “the main tool in the fight against tax evasion is card payments. Most of the transactions in Greece are still done with paper money, despite the 500 euro limit for cash payments. According to data on private consumption the percentage of card payments has increased since 2019, from 20 to 37%. But again, it remains below 46%, which is the average in the eurozone.

Investment grade in 2023?

In Monday's print edition, Handelsblatt refers to Greece's efforts to regain "investment grade" from international rating agencies in 2023. As it points out, "this upgrade would improve the conditions for financing not only the state, but also the Greek economy . The country had lost the status of a reliable borrower in the spring of 2010, at the beginning of the debt crisis. However, the market has already discounted the expected upgrade. Risk premiums for Greek bonds are falling. The yield on the 10-year Greek bond is three basis points lower than the corresponding Italian bond, although Italy maintains investment grade."