The Greek Finance Ministry is putting Greeks abroad through the ‘sieve’ in this year’s tax returns.

Specifically, Code 029-030 of E1 of the income tax return includes the question: “Do you have income or assets (property, deposits etc) abroad to declare?”

The question concerns all those who submit tax returns in Greece regardless of whether they are taxpayers in Greece or in another country.

The question does not influence the return for taxpayers, however there is concern that the response to the question could later be used by the Greek tax office when auditing tax statements.

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Greek statements first included a similar question in 2011 (for revenue from 2010) and since then, all those who submitted their returns in Greece were invited to respond to the question for the first time. The earlier version of the question had asked taxpayers about their assets abroad but did not include the word “income”. It is the first time that taxpayers of Greece are required to state if they receive income from abroad.

Those who fill out the tax statement are also instructed to note that Code 020-030 should be filled out by those who have invested abroad in shares, bonds and other such investments. It is noted that Greece receives information from other EU countries as well as third countries which have international administrative agreements with Greece.

The taxpayer is also asked to identify the countries where there are additional assets and investments though the exact amount is not requested.

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There is speculation regarding the reason for the inclusion of the question in the tax statement. Authorities could quite possibly wish to monitor assets abroad.

It is unknown how Greek authorities will use the information, however there is taxpayers living abroad, some for decades, are perplexed by the question.