The men and women from Financial Crimes Units (SDOE) of the Greek Finance Ministry. They appear in small groups of three and wear Air Force Blue uniforms. They walk down the streets and the malls of Athens. Piraeus and suburbs, devoted to combat tax evasion. With their blue appearance they try to scare vendors and consumers alike; the first in order to issue receipts, the latter in order to ask for receipts. Needless to say that the moment they arrive, a tiny bird whistles alert and everybody behaves like a lawful citizen.
In austerity and recession times when money is rare, there are not a few vendors who offer a discount if the buyer refrains from getting a receipt. They are both happy about the deal. But the state gets angry seeing itself outside the deal and being deprived from the 23% Value Added Tax revenues.
The Blue SDOE-teams do not limit their activities during the day only. They are authorized to control at night as well and visit entertainment establishments.
The law punishes enterprises that do not issue receipts with fines and even closure. Consumers could pay a fine of €100 should they be caught without a receipt.
PS I wonder why the Blue SDOE teams are active only in Attica Prefecture. Are residents of Athens and Piraeus the only Greeks evading taxes? Or didn’t the Finance Ministry have enough money to buy more Air Force blue uniforms – which by the way I think they are …Yale blue…