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Greece Should Write Off Billions of Overdue Taxes, Report Says

Greece Should Write Off Billions of Overdue Taxes, Report Says
More focus is needed on collection from the 1,500 biggest debtors, which make up two-thirds of the total amount owed to the state, according to an e-mailed copy of the November report from the Athens-based finance ministry today. Photographer: Angelos Tzortzinis/Bloomberg

Dec. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Greece should write off part of the 53 billion euros ($70 billion) of outstanding taxes owed to it as it will only be able to collect up to 20 percent of that amount, a report by the European Union and International Monetary Fund showed.

More focus is needed on collection from the 1,500 biggest debtors, which make up two-thirds of the total amount owed to the state, according to an e-mailed copy of the November report from the Athens-based finance ministry today. More staff should be allocated to auditing those cases and specific targets for 2013 should be set, it said.

Greece hasn’t met five of 10 six-month targets set as part of its tax system overhaul and stronger enforcement of value added tax collection as well as speeding up VAT returns should be a priority, according to the report.

The report is based on a visit to Athens by a technical EU and IMF team between Oct. 16 and Oct. 22.

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To contact the editor responsible for this story: Natalie Weeks at nweeks2@bloomberg.net

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