Monday, September 10, 2012

Greek tax evasion: blame professionals, not plumbers

The Guardian is reporting, via FT Alphaville, a study of tax evasion in Greece which concludes that the big culprits in Greece's economic woes are not VAT-dodging plumbers and refuse collectors, but the professional classes. Among other things, they conclude,
"Primary tax evading occupations are doctors, engineers, private tutors, accountants, financial service agents, and lawyers."
What, no Greek shipowners? We would expect that the taxes evaded by the wealthiest Greek individuals -- at least those that haven't re-domiciled themselves to London -- are likely to be worth many thousands of diddled tax returns from lawyers, accountants and doctors. Why do we say that. Well, although the study does use interesting methodology, looking at bank credit applications, we don't imagine the super-wealthy getting down and dirty with such trifles. To understand why this - and many other studies - will have underestimated the problem, take a look at our last edition of Tax Justice Focus, for a brief summary in its lead article, and the underlying report, here.


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