Rev­enue gap leads to re­bate freeze

Kathimerini English - - Focus - PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

It ap­pears that the Fi­nance Min­istry has or­dered a halt to out­go­ing pay­ments, freez­ing tax re­bates. The aim of the move, ac­cord­ing to tax of­fice direc­tors, is to plug the bud­get rev­enue gap, which posted a short­fall of 1.2 bil­lion euros in the first 10 months of the year.

The head of one ma­jor tax of­fice in Athens told Kathimerini that, on the or­ders of the min­istry’s cen­tral agency, tax of­fices can cur­rently only award tax re­bates to those who owe the gov­ern­ment money, by sub­tract­ing the fig­ure from their debts. The rea­son given to tax of­fice direc­tors by the min­istry’s cen­tral agency is that the off­set­ting process will have to be com­pleted rapidly for the sake of those wish­ing to en­ter the new re­pay­ment plans for ex­pired debts.

How­ever, the same tax of­fi­cial said that the off­set­ting of debts with re­bates ac­counts for no more than 20 per­cent of to­tal tax re­bates. The real goal, he said, is to ease pres­sure on the bud­get by not in­clud­ing any new re­bates, which in the first 10 months of the year amounted to 2.84 bil­lion euros.

Min­istry sources spoke yes­ter­day of a tech­ni­cal prob­lem with the sys­tem that has led to the freez­ing of re­bate pay­ments. Once the prob­lem is fixed, they said, the pay­ment of re­bates will re­sume, sug­gest­ing that this would be in the next few days.

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