Dog lovers in Greece beware. That pooch you're petting could be working for the tax collector.
Greece, which by some estimates is losing up to 16 billion euros ($17.62 billion U.S.) each year to tax evasion, is now looking for four-legged help.
Dogs are assigned many tasks, like the ones the canines in this U.S. Army video are being trained to complete. Click image to watch what these Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois going through their military paces.
Greek tax officials are recruiting dogs to sniff out potential tax dodgers who are hiding untaxed money, reports Reuters.
Intertwined tax, financial crisis: Greece has been struggling for years with a financial crisis.
The Mediterranean nation became the center of global money concerns in 2008, shortly after the Wall Street crash in the United States. Greek officials admitted in 2009 that their country had been understating its deficit figures for years.
But even after a series of bailouts from its European neighbors, the Greek fiscal crisis goes on like an odyssey without end.
Sniffing out untaxed cash: The continuing fiscal crisis has prompted many of Greeks to take millions of euros out of the country.
Banking sources also tell Reuters that between 15 and 20 billion euros are being hoarded by Greeks outside the banking system.
Greece will let the dogs out after they are trained to sniff out the untaxed cash that people have hidden in their homes.
Authorities prefer German Shepherds, Labradors or Belgian Malinois, according to a report by Greece's Star Channel TV. These breeds are already popular working dogs, but Greece says the animals it will use to track tax evaders don't need a fancy pedigree.
Creative tax compliance tactics: The canine tax force is just the latest creative tax enforcement effort by Greek officials.
Last year, Greek officials explored hiring undercover tax amateurs, including local students and visiting tourists, to help find tax evaders.
The "non-professional inspectors" were to get pose, after some basic training, as customers to help spot retailers who were selling items without complying with applicable tax laws.
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