Bring Swiss Funds Home, Greece Says With Partial Amnesty Offer

1 Απρ 2016

Greece is asking its citizens to bring home funds stashed away in Swiss and other overseas accounts with promises of a partial amnesty.

   As the government struggles to fix the country’s battered banking system and increase tax revenue, it is ironing out a law providing incentives for voluntarily disclosing undeclared overseas financial assets. The legislation would scrap fines and some surcharges for such disclosures.
   While not providing full amnesty, incentives may also include dropping criminal charges, Deputy Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis said in an interview in Athens on Wednesday. The draft bill is being negotiated with creditors and may be submitted soon to parliament, he said.
   “We won’t be forgiving everything, but we will give incentives so that people participate,” Alexiadis said, adding that disclosed assets will be taxed at the rate that was in place when the income was made. “If someone had declared an income of, say, 200,000 euros in a particular year, but has deposited 500,000 euros, then they would have to cover the difference. Proposals for a 10-15 percent taxation aren’t serious, the rate will be higher.”
   As Athens braces for yet another round of austerity measures attached to its euro-area-backed bailout, tax evasion and illicit trade are shrinking state coffers by between 15 and 20 billion euros a year ($17-$22 billion), Alexiadis cited estimates as showing. The country is also looking to bolster its lenders after doubts about Greece’s place in the euro area led savers to withdraw almost half of all bank deposits since the beginning of the crisis, with much of the funds transferred offshore.
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