Romania’s underground economy amounts to EUR 46 bln, according to a study conducted by representatives of the Organization for Economic Collaboration and Development (OECD), Realitatea.net reports. In other words, if Romania’s debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were paid out of these funds, we would be left with an extra EUR 3 bln. In practice, a more effective tax-collection system would have managed to get the country out of the crisis, without contracting any debts. Yet Romania ranks among the first three countries in Europe as regards tax evasion, which amounts to one third of GDP. According to an evaluation of the AT Kearney consultancy firm, losses to the social security budget in Romania, caused by tax evasion, amount to EUR 7 bln every year. Thus, we rank second as regards fraud, after Italy. The Italian Taxpayers’ Association estimates that the Italians rank first based on their performance in cheating the state by the equivalent of 51.1 per cent of taxable incomes in 2009. Romania’s result in the tax-dodgers’ ranking amounts to 42.4 per cent of GDP, which marks a staggering difference from the figures reported by the Ministry of Finance, according to which the Romanian underground economy amounted to merely 21 per cent of GDP in 2008. Also featured in the Italians’ ranking are Bulgaria, Estonia and Slovakia. Five years ago, the same consultancy firm estimated the share claimed by the Romanian underground economy at 35.4 per cent.