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Greek FinMin – Tax raising campaing “for the pocket of the other”

Greek Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras admitted in an interview that also he was not exemption to the old Greek tradition: to buy services and goods without asking and/or receiving a receipt. A practice that helped vendors and other professionals to steal from the state the Value Added Tax and declare much lower income than their real one. At the same time, the consumer would enjoy a one- or two-digit percentage reduction in the absence of receipt and V.A.T. – except in restaurants, cafeterias and bars, where no receipt would be issued but the owner would cash the whole amount, V.A.T. included. 

“When the hairdresser would come, he would never issued a receipt, ” Stournaras told state broadcaster NET TV on Monday night, admitting that also he -as consumer- was part of the national sinister hobby: the tax evasion.

“Now I ask for receipts,” added the Greek at the post of finance minister since last July. And thus in an effort to go ahead and give a good example and more than this in order to persudade the Greek audience of the necessity to ask receipts by merchants and sellers of goods and services of all kinds.

 Video: excerpt NET interview

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 The reporter asks the minister  about the system of receipts collections and the criticism against the government policies that try to turn the taxpayers into tax-collectors and employees-pensioners into tax-officers.

“We ask them to help. here comes the guy that maintains the heating system, do you take a receipt? You don’t.” Stournaras said. “Do you take receipts?” the journalist asked to get the reply:

“Until recently I didn’t, now I do. From my hairdresser, I didn’t, now I do. He would come, say very nice words, but he would never issue a receipt. Now, I ask for one. For everything,” Stournaras said.

Proud of the recent radical change in his own mentality and still unable to combat big scale tax evasion, Yiannis Stournaras forces now only low and middle class employees and pensioners to collect receipts worth 25% of their annual income. However as he does not accept receipts for expenditure for utilities, transport and other basic needs, he imposes a fine worth 22% of the amount in absent receipts.

stournaras taxes

No wonder, that Stournaras’ taxes mania inspired a creative mind to ‘play’ with the Doctors Without Borders fundraising campaign “Pastilles for the pain of the other” and create a ” Stournaras tax raising campaign” for the …pocket of the other! A finance minister without borders of shame, without taxes and receipts, as he tries to drain the low incomes but let big scale tax evaders prevail.

  stournaras taxes

“Taxes for the pocket of the other. You impose them, somebody else stops laughing.”


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  1. When I arrived here in my other country in November I was shocked to find that at the supermarkets they would not give you a receipt unless you specifically asked them for it. The baker would throw it away as soon as it came out of the cash register. And more like that. Only when there was a chance you might want to return goods you would get a receipt.
    Then I realized that I was brainwashed in Greece. There is in fact no need at all to ask for receipts at every place. Every cash register has a dual roll. In Greece you have to keep it and give it to the DOY for inspection. You even have to keep your cash register for 10 years after you closed shop! So if they would just, for once, do their job they would have all the proof they want from traders. Yes, and they should burn all those worthless books for hand written receipts in one big bonfire. Cash registers are now mandatory. Just make any receipt electronic and you have papertrails for every cent and every bolt.
    But no, in Greece people have to collect thousands of receipts. And you know what? Half of them don’t even count! Don´t come with a foreign purchase. And when I remember right oilproducts are also exempt. To name just two categories where potentially big amounts you really spend are not allowed to be counted…
    Guess what people will do? Yes, they will ‘compensate’ for those things.

    • what? supers do not give receipt in NL???
      What I know is that the owners of cash registers/receipt books should issue a receipt without the consumer has to ask for it.

      • Well, there is just no need for them. Most people left them at the counter or dropped them on the ground. There is no possible check at the exit by economic police. And every purchase is re-traceable, even without a receipt, to the seller. When something is amiss with a supermarket purchase I just return and get it changed.
        In restaurants? You pay and leave the thing on the table. Hairdresser? You pay. The amount is registered in the cash register and you are done with it. And so on. (Oh, and those cash registers are not connected to the FinMin, like they want to implement in Greece, it seems)
        A lot of transactions still are in cash. Credit cards are not so widely used. On the other hand, debit cards are. So you can see real time what purchases you made in you real time bank account.
        Like I said, there is really no need as a customer to take receipts with you. Only if there is some kind of warranty involved.
        As companies you get audited every 5 years. What you need to show then are your bank transactions of the last 5 years, your invoices and your book-keeping. That is all the auditor needs to get a complete picture.
        And last but not least. If an auditor finds a fault in your bookkeeping you get a recommendation about how to correct that in future. And if there was through these mistakes some under- or overpaying of taxes the last 5 years it will be corrected without punishment.
        Is there no fraud here? Of course there is. Everywhere in the world there is. Only thing is it is not endemic and not in a general sense seen as something that is part of life or like some Greeks love to say: “It’s the Greek way”…

        • I truly beleive the enforecement to collect 25% of the annual income here aims to force people to spend money in the economy and nothing else. Wha tags and false targets they put on it is irrelevant. a ridiculous measure for the usual Greek sheep, the low and medium income up to 50K euro. then the 25% doe snot apply to 100K incomes for example. A shame measure that hits the poor and the impoverished – those who have no storng lobbies to defend themselves.

          • If home heating bills, utility bills, rent, medicine & hospital bills etc. are not admissable as “receipts”, then how many people targetted by this “measure” have actually got 25% of their income left to spend?

            and yes, you are right. One of the main reasons is that those targetted by these measures have no united voice. The other reason is that those who have no problem complying with the measures (air plane tickets and hotel bills on the German-Swiss border alone would probably fill the requirement) are those who make the rules, and they are obviously not going to inconvenience themselves when there are millions of sheep, Greek or others, to take to the slaughter instead.

            Has, or is anybody making a relationship-tree showing the relationship between those on the various lists and those in power? Meaning, all those who wold have no problem with these measures? Not that you really need to, but seeing it in black and white usually does wake some people up…

          • 1) receipts will come from super market shopping.because the finmin assumes that people eat. whereas supers do issue receipts anyway in contrast to self-employed.
            2)a relationship tree contains much more branches as there those in between, the most tricky ones who go ‘unnoticed’ by the public opinion. unless somebody gets in jails and the secret connections get on the news papers.

          • People do indeed eat. But, I grow almost 100% of my food needs myself. Apart from there not being a supermarket here, I wouldn’t shop there if there was one. The amount of damage these organizations do to a community, local as well as global, is unreal, and simply doesn’t warrant anybody supporting them by shopping there. But that’s a different argument of course.
            Back to the original question, how many people, after paying all the non-admissable bills, have 25% of their income left?
            A recent study in Ireland shows that over 1.8 million people in that country have, after paying their bills, less than 100 € a month left to buy things like food. That 100 € would represent just under 15% of their income. I know these people are not in Greece or Greeks, but they are the very same kind of people as those targeted by these measures in Greece, meaning, people with little or nothing left after “austerity” is imposed on them…

          • The point in stating the 100% almost self sufficiency is to ask the question: what do I then submit as bills? I don’t have a car, and I suppose fuel bills for a bicycle are not andmissable?