Greece’s top court, the Council of State, has ruled that all tax evasion cases from the Lagarde list examined after December 31.2012 have to be written off. This could cost the state estimated 50 million euros that will have to return to tax payers.
The CoS ruling rejected the Greek state appeal that was requesting the annulment of a decision of the Athens Administrative Court of Appeal granting, in a specific case of Lagarde list, that the State the right to carry out tax audits and to impose taxes and fines on cases also after 31.12.2012. The specific cases was audit of the yaxation year 2006.
According to the country’s legislation, a five-year limitation applies for tax audits of previous years.
The CoS ruled that all tax audits carried out after 31 December 2012 are considered invalid, as these cases are considered to have been barred when the relevant tax authorities’ decisions on tax and fines were issued in natural persons.
According daily naftemporiki, tax officers estimate that the CoS ruling would lead to cancellation of certified taxes and fines totaling € 330 million, which have been certified to some 500 taxpayers.
At the same time, the State will be obliged to refund a total of 50million euros in taxes paid by taxpayers included in the Lagarde list.
The Lagarde list is a spreadsheet containing roughly 2,000 potential tax evaders with undeclared accounts at Swiss HSBC bank’s Geneva branch. It is named after former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, who in October 2010 passed it on to Greek officials to help them crack down on tax evasion. However, it was only two years later the list became known to a wider public, when Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis published it in his magazine Hot Doc protesting against the Greek government’s failure to launch an investigation.