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article imageGreek tax offices announce yet another strike

By Katerina Nikolas     Dec 21, 2011 in World
Greece has been beset with an unprecedented amount of strikes during 2011, surpassing the usual disruption. The tax office is due to end the year with yet another two-day strike, adding further misery to those who need to meet the Dec. 31 tax deadline.
Tax officials in Greece are set to strike yet again, with industrial action planned for Dec. 29 and 30. Athens News reported that the POE-DOY union, which represents tax office employees, has called a strike in protest over wage cuts and the emergency property tax introduced in September.
The planned strike will create difficulties for those set to pay their annual road tax by the deadline of Dec. 31. Failure to pay the tax by that date results in a doubling of the tax in January, as a penalty.
Last week the former general secretary for Information Systems at the Finance Ministry, Diomedes Spinellis, revealed that "It is well known that when the state returns high amounts of taxes to taxpayers, an 8% goes directly in the pockets of the tax officials.“ Tax officials are one of the largest beneficiaries of bribes, known as fakelaki, even during such dire economic times. In January 80 tax collectors were suspended on suspicion of accepting bribes and reforms of the tax collecting system were announced.
Although the tax office is not responsible for collecting the property tax it has been asked to review exemptions claimed by the poorest sectors. The tax itself is collected by the Greek Public Power Corporation, DEI. The latter's demand for a 19 percent price increase to be implemented from Jan 1 has been rejected, with Ekathimerini reporting the rise now set to be an average 9 to 10 percent. The effective rise will be 12.3 percent with the addition of the 23 percent VAT rate.
Rival electricity suppliers Energa and Hellas Power have complained that DEI are purposefully holding up consumer applications to change to cheaper suppliers, using the collection of the property tax as an excuse. It is no simple matter to switch suppliers in a country weighed down with endless bureaucratic demands that take forever to process, thus thwarting consumer efforts to switch power companies to attain a monetary saving.
More about Greek tax office, POEDOY union, Bribes, tax officals embezel
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