Tax debts soar 1.5 bln in Septem­ber

Kathimerini English - - Focus - PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

The Fi­nance Min­istryis par­tic­u­larly con­cerned by tax­pay­ers’ ap­par­ent in­abil­ity or re­luc­tance to pay their dues to the state in Septem­ber, which raised their tax debts by 1.5 bil­lion eu­ros in just one month.

Th­ese fig­ures, which bring the hole in the bud­get rev­enues to al­most 5 bil­lion eu­ros, came out just as the gov­ern­ment was pre­par­ing for its meet­ings with the coun­try’s cred­i­tors.

Min­istry of­fi­cials at­tribute the growth in tax debts to three main fac­tors: the re­duc­tion of cit­i­zens’ ca­pac­ity to pay, es­pe­cially the mid­dle class, which faces an ex­ces­sive tax bur­den; the elec­tion pe­riod, as tax­pay­ers usu­ally avoid pay­ing their dues to the state ahead of a gen­eral elec­tion; and the in­crease in the fines im­posed by the in­spec­tion squads dur­ing the sum­mer on en­ter­prises and the self-em­ployed, most of which went straight into the pool of debts to the state.

It is also likely that a num­ber of tax­pay­ers who had en­tered the 100-in­stall­ment pay­ment pro­gram will stop pay­ing their dues now that the in­ter­est rate on pay­ments has been in­creased from 3 to 5.05 per­cent for most of them. Worse still, the nu­mer­ous tax obli­ga­tions left for the last quar­ter of the year are likely to take the bill of debts even higher by the end of 2015.

In elec­tion pe­ri­ods, such as that last month, tax­pay­ers tend to avoid pay­ing their taxes.

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