Greece fails to collect taxes, loses $81 bln

Greece fails to collect taxes, loses $81 bln

USSELS - The Associated Press
Greece fails to collect taxes, loses $81 bln

Consumers wait in a line in Athens to ask about a new property tax on electricity. AP photo

Greece is losing out on about 60 billion euros ($81 billion) in uncollected taxes, with half of that caught up in lengthy legal disputes that prevent the debt-ridden country from getting its hands on desperately needed funding, a European Union task force said yesterday.

The task force was set up earlier this year when it became obvious that Greece needed a lot of support to implement reforms promised in return for a massive international bailout and get its economy growing again.

The group’s first report, presented by task force head Horst Reichenbach, paints a dire picture of Greece’s efforts to raise money to repay its debts. But it also spells out specific areas where other EU states and international institutions can help the Greek administration work more efficiently and effectively.

The report, which the EU said showed “cautious optimism” for Greece despite some of its negative findings, comes amid a further intensification of the eurozone’s wider debt crisis, which was kicked of by Greece’s troubles two years ago.

Investors yesterday continued to dump bonds from much larger countries in the eurozone, including Italy, Spain and France, underlining that the debt turmoil risks spinning out of control, threatening the future of the common currency.Analysts say that the eurozone’s slow and often fumbling efforts at resolving Greece’s troubles is one of the main reasons investors have lost confidence in the entire currency union