Big Brother’s looking for trouble in Greece

As if a raft of new taxes, cuts in allowances and benefits, and austerity measures weren’t bad enough, Greeks are now facing a new threat from the tax authorities.

Cash ‘under the mattress’ totaling more than 15,000 euro[s], jewelry and other valuable items such as diamonds and gemstones, should be declared to electronic system of tax authorities, Taxisnet, as of 1. January 2016. Next to properties and vehicles and shares, now the taxpayers will also have to declare their deposits. And not only that. They will have to fill if they rent bank lockers and if yes, also the name of the bank and the branch, even if abroad.

A joint ministerial decision issued by the Ministries of Justice and Finance indicates that taxpayers in Greece should add all their valuables into a new category of the tax declaration, the “Assets declaration.”

. . .

Note that this Assets declaration process will initially apply to lawmakers, journalists, public servants etc and is the rehearsal for the creation of the electronic property & assets register that will be extended to all taxpayers.

The new assets declaration form has a total of 56 pages.

The decision has been taken “in the context of support and development of the economy,” the ministers state.

There’s more at the link.

I can see this going down like a lead balloon.  There can only be one reason why the tax authorities want this information – so they can tax you on your accumulated assets, particularly if you’ve accumulated more assets than you could reasonably have afforded on your declared taxable income.  Cue massive, population-wide civil disobedience in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

Can you just imagine the fun if a US administration tried to implement something similar?  After all, the new restrictions on so-called ‘assault rifles’ have seen a greater-than-80% rate of civil disobedience in New York and Connecticut, including from many of the cops who are supposed to implement them.  This would be far, far worse.  As far as I’m concerned, what I own is my business and no-one else’s.  I’ve paid tax on the income I used to buy it, and that’s the last that any tax agency needs to know about it.  What’s the accounting symbol for “Go pound sand“?



  1. I can't imagine much compliance with this. I wonder, would you get taxed on these items each and every year you own them? If so, it wouldn't take long for the taxes to surpass the amount of purchase.

    Trying that over here would likely get the IRS disbanded. Either through government action or through a more violent citizen action.

  2. Remember what happened in Spain when they went off the peso? Over a billion dollars were 'converted' out of mattresses and 'other' locations…

  3. In Missouri you have to pay taxes on your personal property every year. Your vehicles, licensed or not, tractors, farm equipment, aircraft, rvs, trailers, every head of livestock, every bushel of grain, any boats or watercraft, motorcycles and go-carts. It's quite the list. They send you a form every year to fill out. If you lie or don't pay they send men with rifles to take your stuff and sell it to someone who will pay taxes on it.

    Cue the Lee Greenwood and sing it with me now "….and I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free…"

  4. And then every year, tax a percentage of your savings, retirement, etc, until every cent has been confiscated. What a great idea. Not!

  5. I _think_ this kind of accumulation of cash is also illegal in Spain. It basically enters the game if you're caught for other reasons (blood crimes, major tax evasion…). I don't know where the limit's at, though, sorry. I can ask, if you're really curious.

    IF the system's similar, it could well be a) an imposition from some kind of treaty in the EU and…

    b) There's a bunch of laws (at least in Spain; I have similar hunches from the whole EU Mediterranean) that are, by and large, ignored in plain view, daily. Until you step beyond a certain point (by and large, points that are also big crimes in the States; have to admit that sometimes someone goes off). Then you'll have "So and so many years for drug traffic, So and so for drug stashes, So many for crimes against public health, So many for illegal guns…" and then you reach "so many for undeclared profits. So many for undeclared cash in premises…". They're also felonies that, on their own, carry a mark but no jail time. On their own. When the whole book falls on you, things go from some years to decades.

    Mind you, it still has more holes than Emmental cheese, but…

    Take care.

  6. Given the % of Greeks who cheat on their taxes (variously estimated between 40% and 90% that I can find), this seems long overdue…

  7. Anon, what came before? Do people cheat because the government turns on them or does the government turn on them because they cheat?

    Cheating on taxes… Define. And add some Mediterranean salt on that. Does that mean trying to skim on VAT for a fridge or does that mean taking on unemployment benefits while having a job?

    IF 90% of Greeks are seriously cheating on their taxes that makes it _this_ short of legitimate.

    Take care

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