Tax Reforms and Debt in Greece after the Financial and Economic Crisis: Insights and Challenges for Tax Policymaking in Times of Emergency

In the area of tax and taxation the European Union, EU Member State Greece has consistently faced non-compliance by its citizens. Greece has, therefore, in the last years, under supervision of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), taken steps to reform its tax administration and confront tax evasion. These reforms have taken place in combined EU and IMF programmes to manage Greece’s recovery from its financial and economic crisis, with substantial financial assistance from the European Stability Mechanism. Numerous tax reforms have occurred, including the adoption of the Income Tax and Tax Procedure Codes and a major reform of VAT legislation. Nonetheless, Greece’s shadow economy has been and remains a factor of concern for tax compliance. Furthermore, economic hardship and the financial crisis have hindered Greek taxpayers’ ability to pay their tax due and propelled government debt. A substantial part of the Greek population has lived and still lives in poverty, while the Greek government continuous to deal with the task of paying the debt owed to its bailout creditors. The current worldwide COVID-19 (corona virus) crisis will certainly also impact the Greek government’s ability to continue with tax reforms and debt sustainability.