Tax hikes and card use helped pri­mary sur­plus ex­ceed its tar­get

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKO­LAOU

Ex­ces­sive tax­a­tio­nand tax­pay­ers’ in­creased use of plas­tic money in their pay­ments to the state led to the cre­ation of a pri­mary bud­get sur­plus of al­most 4.4 bil­lion eu­ros in 2016, ac­cord­ing to pro­vi­sional end-of-year fig­ures re­leased yes­ter­day by the Fi­nance Min­istry.

The taxes im­posed in 2016, amount­ing to some 5 bil­lion eu­ros, sent bud­get rev­enues soar­ing last year as they ex­ceeded the tar­get set by 1.8 bil­lion eu­ros.

In­creased value-added tax rates, the abo­li­tion of the VAT dis­count of 30 per­cent for a num­ber of Aegean is­lands, new in­come tax rates, the sol­i­dar­ity levy hike, and the in­crease in the spe­cial con­sump­tion tax on cig­a­rettes and heat­ing oil are just a few of the taxes that bur­dened Greeks last year and raised state tak­ings.

On the neg­a­tive side of the 2016 bud­get was the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Pro­gram’s 500-mil­lion-euro drop in spend­ing, as well as the 204-mil­lion-euro re­duc­tion in its in­flows from the Euro­pean Union.

The phe­nom­e­non of over­tax- ation con­tin­ues even stronger in 2017, with new taxes amount­ing to 2.5 bil­lion eu­ros. Fi­nance Min­istry of­fi­cials note that the cur­rent mo­men­tum in rev­enues may suf­fer over the course of the year, as the in­creased taxes and so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions tax­pay­ers have to cover may well cre­ate prob­lems such as an in­crease in tax and con­tri­bu­tion eva­sion.

The same sources add that the vol­ume of ex­pired debts to the state will grow by about 15 bil­lion eu­ros this year. The lat­est avail­able data show that more than half of all tax­pay­ers have debts to the state that add up to about 94 bil­lion eu­ros.

The pro­vi­sional data for 2016 show the pri­mary sur­plus amount­ing to 4.39 bil­lion eu­ros, against 2.27 per­cent in 2015 and a 2016 tar­get of 1.98 bil­lion. In De­cem­ber rev­enues reached 6.026 bil­lion eu­ros, beat­ing their tar­get by 114 mil­lion.

For the whole of 2016, bud­get rev­enues amounted to 49.8 bil­lion eu­ros, up 1.8 bil­lion from their tar­get, with tax re­turns reach­ing 3.26 bil­lion, while state ex­pen­di­ture came to 55.15 bil­lion, miss­ing the an­nual tar­get by 817 mil­lion eu­ros.

The pro­vi­sional data for 2016 show the pri­mary sur­plus amount­ing to 4.39 bil­lion eu­ros, against 2.27 per­cent in 2015 and a 2016 tar­get of 1.98 bil­lion. In De­cem­ber rev­enues reached 6.026 bil­lion eu­ros.

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