Pri­mary sur­plus ‘over 1 bln’

Par­lia­men­tary Bud­get Of­fice warns that Greeks can’t af­ford to pay more taxes

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece’s pri­ma­ry­surplus for last year will ex­ceed 1 bil­lion eu­ros, a se­nior Fi­nance Min­istry of­fi­cial es­ti­mated yes­ter­day, com­pared with a tar­get of 812 mil­lion eu­ros that the 2014 bud­get has in­cluded for 2013.

Should that es­ti­mate prove cor­rect at the end of Fe­bru­ary, when the rev­enues for 2013 will have been col­lected, and be con­firmed by the of­fi­cial fig­ures that Euro­stat is sched­uled to is­sue in April, the gov­ern­ment will have more funds to spend on so­cial needs. The prime min­is­ter has promised that 70 per­cent of last year’s pri­mary sur­plus will go to­ward cor­rect­ing so­cial in­jus­tices cre­ated by the aus­ter­ity mea­sures.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to a re­port pre­sented yes­ter­day by the Par­lia­men­tary Bud­get Of­fice, the ex­haus­tion of tax­pay­ers’ ca­pac­ity to pay more taxes and the in­crease in ex­pired debts to the state puts the achieve­ment of a 2.9-bil­lion-euro pri­mary sur­plus for 2014 in doubt.

Of­fice’s re­port says tax­pay­ers have ex­hausted their pay­ing ca­pac­ity, with prop­erty tax hav­ing risen seven-fold since 2009.

The of­fice’s an­a­lysts showed that Greece suf­fers from ex­ces­sive tax­a­tion by com­par­ing Greek rates with the Euro­pean av­er­age: The high­est value-added tax rate in Greece stands at 23 per­cent, against 21.52 per­cent in the Euro­pean Union and 20.45 per­cent in the eu­ro­zone; the top in­come tax bracket for en­ter­prises has a 26 per­cent rate, with the av­er­age EU rate at 21.84 per­cent and that for the eu­ro­zone at 25.95 per­cent; the top rate for tax­pay­ers amounts to 46 per­cent in Greece against 36.67 per­cent in the EU and 44.52 per­cent in the eu­ro­zone.

The re­port adds that all tax in­creases since 2010 have cre­ated a ma­jor bur­den on house­holds with­out the equiv­a­lent ben­e­fits for state cof­fers. This is at­trib­uted to tax eva­sion, the ex­haus­tion of tax­pay­ing ca­pac­ity and the in­crease in un­em­ploy­ment.

The study high­lights that in­come tax on salary work­ers and pen­sion­ers has in­creased seven-fold since 2010, while the tax that the self-em­ployed will pay in 2014 will be up to nine times higher than in 2010. Prop­erty tax­a­tion has grown seven-fold within five years, as the to­tal amount of tax real es­tate own­ers will pay this year will reach 3.5 bil­lion eu­ros, up from 500 mil­lion in 2009.

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