If diligent and successful, the people hired to be official tax inspectors are working to eliminate their jobs. Employed by either the Ministry of Finance or The Hellenic Police (it is hard to tell if there is one or more bosses) their job is to seek out business owners who do not issue proper receipts (pictured) or are not licensed. It seems that in the last few years more and more businesses here in Skopelos are cutting proper receipts and thereby committing themselves to one day paying the sales tax to their government.
A branch (perhaps) of the tax inspectors also can collect samples of alcohol sold in bars (especially in hellholes like Laganas in Zakinthos) to be sure that it is fit for human consumption (there’s a reason why many local young people drink only bottled beer!).
Once in a while a story pops up in the news touting the progress the inspectors have made during the previous month and citing the number of businesses checked and the percentage of scofflaws bagged.
The numbers are not always impressive.
Though their work can be dangerous as two inspectors discovered in Patmos when an irate private citizen beat them up,
we’ve heard stories (only) of inspectors asking for cash from shop owners to overlook infractions and not impose “on the spot” closures. In the past inspectors have traveled in packs of three to prevent bribery (the culprit would need to bribe all three or one of the three might be honest or working undercover/undercover to unmasked corrupt inspectors).
Though lookouts in each locality work together to alert the neighborhood (or island in our case) of the arrival of the tax inspecting teams, somebody local usually gets caught before word gets out.
In any case, should their work be successful and all business owners eventually conform to the law, logically these men and women should be out of a job. Wouldn’t they?