Debts to the state keep pil­ing up

Tax­pay­ers are un­able to cope with the huge de­mands on them, cre­at­ing 1 bln euros of ar­rears every month

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

The huge tax bur­den of the last few years has crushed many Greeks who are un­able to meet their obli­ga­tions to the tax au­thor­i­ties any­more. In May alone tax­pay­ers and busi­nesses failed to pay taxes of 1.25 bil­lion euros, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased yes­ter­day by the Gen­eral Sec­re­tariat for Public Rev­enue. This has taken the sum of ex­pired debts to the state to 88.9 bil­lion – al­most 50 per­cent of the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

Mar­ket sources es­ti­mate that ex­pired debts will have soared to 95 bil­lion euros by the end of the year, as tax­pay­ers’ debts are grow­ing at a rate of at least 1 bil­lion euros per month. Notably, tax­pay­ers will also have to face sig­nif­i­cant hikes in in­di­rect taxes this year on top of their in­come tax and the ENFIA sin­gle prop­erty tax.

From 30 bil­lion euros at the end of 2009, ex­pired debts to the state had risen 196 per­cent by May 2016. This means that en­ter­prises and tax­pay­ers have failed to pay al­most 59 bil­lion euros to the state over the course of the fi­nan­cial cri­sis.

Ob­vi­ously the bulk of this amount is no longer col­lectible, as most of the big debtors have ei­ther gone bank­rupt or died.

It is also in­ter­est­ing that while the ex­pired debts of var­i­ous state cor­po­ra­tions and mu­nic­i­pal en­ter­prises to the tax au­thor­i­ties and the so­cial se­cu­rity funds ex­ceed 8 bil­lion euros, no ef­fort at all has been made to make them pay their dues, or at least to off­set them with other charges.

The new ex­pired debts (those cre­ated from Jan­uary to May 2016) of­fi­cially amount to 5.58 bil- 551.92 1.1092 lion euros. How­ever, this does not in­clude the debts ac­cu­mu­lated from third-party levies, un­paid rents for state-owned prop­er­ties, for­feited so­cial se­cu­rity and the non­pay­ment of var­i­ous fines and charges.

Of the debts that ex­isted be­fore 2016, the state has col­lected 1.26 bil­lion euros, and by the end of the year it has to col­lect 2.05 bil­lion euros, ac­cord­ing to the bud­get’s pro­vi­sions.

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