Greece's tax and customs bureau have reportedly commenced an investigation, in cooperation with their Bulgarian counterparts, on a list of roughly 9,500 high-end vehicles that have changed Greek license plates and for Bulgarian plates, after registering in the neighboring country.
The aim of the investigation is to uncover tax evasion, as hundreds and possibly thousands of Greek taxpayers reportedly now drive luxury vehicles with Bulgarian plates in Greece, listing the vehicles as corporate property of companies opened or transferred to Bulgaria.
Bulgaria has emerged over the past decade as a "tax haven" for many Greek nationals. High-end vehicles, for instance, are imposed a "luxury tax" in Greece, while taxpayers must also qualify such ownership with reported incomes. Road fees are also much higher in Greece.
Stiff fines and the difference in lost taxes are imposed if authorities determine that a taxpayer operates a vehicle with foreign plates that is, however, registered with a "shell company", i.e. a corporate entity with marginal turnover and limited business presence.