Meanderings.. taxes, bribes, health, euro

For discussion, news, comments, questions and information about Crete & Greece.
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Postby concerned » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:05 pm

I think al when you quote about the post relating to the person who thought Greeks have no social conscience, I feel there is something in whoever said that, Greece's finances are in turmoil, thousands and thousands of Greeks cheat the system, the health service is on the brink of collaspe, some schools have no pencils, politicians are lined up in jail waiting for their trials, business owners paying no monies to IKA because they only employ illegal workers, god knows how many genuine Greeks would be employed if the authorities did something about it and god knows why they dont because they do about it, doctors taking back handers and so on and so on. Greek people need to take a hard look at themselves to see what mess they have helped create for their children and if everything carries on like it is now the children have no future here at all, so maybe there's something genuine when a poster states the Greeks have no social conscience

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Postby Kilkis » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:23 pm

Good grief that's two ex-pats in Kavros who think that the Greeks are the scum of the earth. It gets worse.


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Postby Jeffstclair » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:26 pm

Or maybe he is just Rabbiting on (get it)... jeff..

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Postby Kilkis » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:34 pm

Interestingly Greece is little different from the UK when it comes to failing to pay taxes etc. The worst offenders are the big businesses. If the government pursue them too vigorously they threaten to close the business and relocate to Bulgaria. Sounds a bit like the UK banks, apart from the destination.

In most companies, the average person doesn't have a choice about paying tax. Their employer deducts it from their gross wage along with IKA. Whether that super rich employer actually pays it to the tax/insurance authorities is another matter. Yes there are some small cash in hand businesses that also cheat the system just as there are everywhere in the world. The tax revenue lost from these is minute compared to that lost from big business. In the UK for example it was estimated a few days ago that cash in hand businesses lose HMRC about £2 billion annually. Big business is estimated to avoid about 20 times this amount and the super rich about 30 times.


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Postby mouche » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:06 pm

A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study.

The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.

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Postby Topdriller » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:17 pm

Warwick has hit the proverbial nail on the head. It's the wealthy professional classes both here and in the UK who have the where with all, the clout and / or the ability to bribe who evade their taxable responsibilities.

How many times have you heard of doctors here asking for a 'brown envelope' (often containing thousands of euros) so as to move someone to the head of the queue for an operation. And when people pay this bribe it's the poorer folk, who simply can't afford the bribe, that get pushed further down the ladder. Not only is this criminally and morally wrong but if someone dies because they've been pushed down the ladder is this not tantamount to manslaughter?

The wife of a local friend of ours had to have an IKA funded operation a couple of years ago and during the consultation in his office the consultant / surgeon asked for €3000 in cash to ensure she would be taken into hospital and operated on that same week. If it had been my wife I would have also paid so as to relieve the pain and anxiety but this is so wrong that it must be stopped.

What's more, these are the same doctors who live in big houses, drive big cars and yet many claim they earn less than €40,000 per annum.

The system is seriously flawed and because of this the State has to tax tangible assets rather than true earnings i.e. the house, the car, the pool, the boat and by doing so they compound and condone the problem rather than rooting out the source i.e. cash payments and bribery!

We need men who dream of things that never were.

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Postby concerned » Thu Jul 26, 2012 6:31 pm

I think though Kilkis that the authorities here are pretty lax in many many things from collecting road tax to three people riding a bike , no helmets and so on, tax evasion, corruption, back handers its all in Greece and to some extent seems to be allowed to flourish. The illegal workers used by businesses should be sorted out and their jobs given to the Cretans / Greeks but it never happens, why not ? 16- 17 year olds fluent in different languages cannot find work, over 50% of 18 -25 year old are out of work and the situation is getting worse. Thousands of Greeks of getting by on hand outs yet nothing gets done. Greece has been let down right across the board from politicians, unions and employers and now they are reaping what they have sown. Will be sad to see what happens if the Greeks are kicked out of the euro because their past will come back to haunt them and if they think then that the tourists will flock back because it will be a cheap destination they are sadly wrong, there will be fuel shortages, no electricity, medicine and care will flounder excetera. It will be a disaster for a few years even if they get their act together and if you base that on past experiences, governments in Greece cannot agree on what they want for dinner let alone run the country

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Postby kouti » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:05 pm

The comments about the tax fiddling and corruption in the professions are well made but my experience is that it extends entirely through all levels.
Many Cretans have told me that you are mad if you pay tax.... it just encourages the buggers.
Some examples of the 'lower orders' abilities to screw the system ..... the DEI employees who take it in turn to absent themselves from the office on a 'buggins turn' basis every day to take coffee and do shopping (shown to me by a native) and the vehicle licensing officer who can turn a newly imported (just registered in Germany) tractor in to a 'new' Greek one (for EU grant purposes) on receipt of fakilaki.
And then there's the elite 'super clean' tax collector squad who still can't resist asking for a backhander to fix the tax issues for a Greek business friend of mine.
I think that the hundreds of years of foreign occupation have created a deeply held (DNA?) attitude to outwitting 'the system' and it's going to take more than a few Troika inspectors to shift it.
Mind you, I think I'm going native. With the never ending stream of revelations of misdoings by every bankster, politician, non-elected EU plantpot, tax-avoiding corporations and media goons, you have to ask ..... just what the hell are we paying all this tax for?

Oh, and another thing ...... if I've read the Athens News correctly this week, it looks as though all the clergy in Greece have their salaries paid by the State !
Beyond parody.

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Postby Al » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:24 pm

Would everyone, especially "Expat" please stop generalising. Yes there is corruption on Crete as there is in almost all countries of the world, the UK included. Let us not forget that the worst building company of the "boom" years was run by an Englishman.

It's the same as the animal lovers. Of course there is cuelty here. It is not practised by everyone - at most a tiny minority. And from professional sources, I hear it is as bad if not worse in the UK.

Please argue clearly and robustly and cease this flabby generalisation!!!


Still got no intention of going back. Immigrant to Crete and proud of it. Love the island, the country, and its people.

Night night.

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Postby concerned » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:17 am

Today in the Greek newspapers there are more reports of widespread tax evasions within the tourist industry, an inspection was carried out by tax officials and their report was scathing on business owners. I'd just like to stop reading about these practises and see something done about but it seems like many things in Greece nothing happens. Some posters have commented about the use of illegal workers in Taverna's / restuarants and other businesses but it goes on unabated every year. Greeks stay unemployed whilst the illegals earn slave money. One posters comments about how hard some business owners have to work to make ends meet just doesn't wash with me, these are the people who don't pay IKA because they only have the illegals working for them, the majority cheat the tax men by not issuing reciepts, keeping two sets of books and only look after their own little empires with no respect to the big picture, yes they are allowed to get away with it because the brown envelopes are passed round. At this rate this country will / is going to the dogs and thats very sad

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Postby Kilkis » Fri Jul 27, 2012 6:51 am

mouche wrote:I'll even claim that local produce will be just as cheap, or expensive, for the locals earning their euro today/dracma tomorrow, but it will be cheaper for those of us that make our living in pound or kroner? Yes?

Not quite. Hypothetical example. Today George earns 1000 Euro per month and pays 1.80 Euro per litre for his petrol. Greece reverts to Drachma at 1 Euro = 1 Drachma. George now earns 1000 Drachma per month and pays 1.80 Drachma per litre for fuel. Apparently your argument is sound BUT one year from now lets assume the Drachma has devalued to 1 Euro = 2 Drachma. George still earns 1000 Drachma per month but he now pays 3.60 Drachma per litre for his petrol. Extend this to every single imported item, and there are a lot more than you might think, and you can see that George is going to find things pretty tough. Of course when his German friend Klaus visits him in the summer he gets 2 Drachma for every Euro so he is still paying 1.80 Euro for petrol for his hire car. Not cheaper but not more expensive. Obviously it will be more complicated than this but at a simplistic level it works.

I detect a slight lack of logic in some of the arguments:

1 Crete is too expensive for tourists. They should reduce their prices.

2 Crete businesses are using illegal foreign labour and not paying IKA or taxes. This should be stopped and businesses forced to employ local Cretan labour plus pay all the IKA and taxes.

Anybody else see any slight flaw in these two arguments when they are combined?


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Postby concerned » Fri Jul 27, 2012 7:31 am

I see where you are coming from kilkis as one point contradicts the other or could do, but forget that - the point is that in general Greeks cheat the systems en bloc, the majority have no regard for employment law and rules are laughed at, somebody or something must at least try to put an end to these malpractises that are the norm. It's to late for many, their children are now suffering from unemployment and poor education, even the bright ones with degrees cannot find work unless thay move abroad. The health service is a shambles ,today in the papers it's reported that the government is proposing a maximum spend of 1500 euros oper head per annum, if the costs of the gross prescription expenses exceeds that the patient will have to pay, the ordinary person has been let down so badly by past governments by doing nothing and allowing this once proud country to stare into the abyss. Finally you are right what you say about any return to the Drachma, for the average Cretan / Greek it will bring misery and hardship for years to come

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Postby TweetTweet » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:01 am

concerned wrote: The health service is a shambles ,today in the papers it's reported that the government is proposing a maximum spend of 1500 euros oper head per annum, if the costs of the gross prescription expenses exceeds that the patient will have to pay

Perhaps this will be time when people wake uip and start to take more responsibility for their health rather than relying on a pharmaceutical band aid that very often does absolutley nothing to treat and heal the underlying cause of disease.

For example, two health issues that mainstream medicine insists need to be treated with pharmaceuticals are high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes but the reality is that both of these can be overcome and reversed (in a great many cases) by applying right diet and right lifestyle.

Amongst other things, right diet involves keeping the body properly hydrated, avoiding junk/fast food, avoiding manufactured foods that contain high fructose corn syrup and/or trans fats.

Inflammation is at the root of many diseases and inflammation is fuelled by rubbish food, no exercise and poor breathing technique.

Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food. ~Hippocrates

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use.
When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
~Ayurvedic Proverb

Why have you changed your name from Rabbit to Concerned?

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Postby Clio » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:37 am

I I think that the hundreds of years of foreign occupation have created a deeply held (DNA?) attitude to outwitting 'the system' and it's going to take more than a few Troika inspectors to shift it.

Kouti is absolutely right. Most of the (older) Greeks I know have this communal mindset, a shared understanding that “we” need to steal a march on the “them” who are in charge.

If the tax inspectors arrive in our locality, say 25 km away, the bush telegraph ensures that by the time they get to us, anything dodgy has been spirited away and every customer is being seen to get a receipt.

I don’t sense the same attitude, though, among the younger people. I think that the huge changes brought about by the electronic revolution have created a different outlook among younger Greeks and there is a real possibility that Greece can move towards a new socio-political model.

Not at the moment, though, while the old guard still hold sway. We need to get rid of the old Pasok/ND axis with their tainted history of patronage. clientism, and corruption. It will happen: their days are clearly numbered. Look at the age profiles of voters in the last elections – the young overwhelmingly were for Syriza.

Syriza needs its chance to establish a new order, and will almost certainly get it before the year is out. I don’t say that with a great deal of confidence: as a party it’s barely coherent and completely untried.

But if they start off on lines that Tsipras has indicated, by going, seriously, for the big fish; if they show that cheating the state, by the rich, will no longer be tolerated…then maybe we can start moving towards a fairer and more honest society.

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Postby STEVE.W » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:40 am

Kilkis is absolutely correct as to how a return and devaluation to the Drachma will affect mainly Greek nationals, not so much the tourist, on that note, another article in todays Daily Mail ... hares.html

Only time will tell but as stated numerous times, until they sort out the corruption from top to bottom and get a better, streamlined system of tax collection, I cna't see much changing except for the whole country being brought to its knees. We see the start of it now with poorer education, health care, food kitchens etc, I don't know about the saying things can only get better but I feel that things may only get worse, if they do come out of the €, then for sure and past examples such as Argentina demonstrate it will take years to recover but on a brighter note, when they do recover, they come back well but it takes time and a lot of pain & suffering for the natives in the meantime.

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