Con­tri­bu­tion hike buoys bud­get

Drop in tax tak­ings over Q1 was off­set by the in­crease in so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions and spend­ing cuts

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

The in­creased so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions paid this year by hun­dreds of thou­sands of work­ers in Greece are ev­i­dent for the first time on the records of the Hel­lenic Sta­tis­ti­cal Author­ity (ELSTAT), which has found that an ad­di­tional 287 mil­lion eu­ros was paid in the first quar­ter of the year com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2016.

The rise in con­tri­bu­tions and ex­ces­sive con­tain­ment of pub­lic ex­pen­di­ture, in­clud­ing a re­duc­tion by 475 mil­lion eu­ros of so­cial ben­e­fits, were the main driv­ers be­hind the pri­mary bud­get sur­plus of 529 mil­lion eu­ros in the Jan­uary-March pe­riod re­ported by ELSTAT yes­ter­day.

Bud­get rev­enues mainly had so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions to thank for their in­crease from 18.07 bil­lion last year to 18.13 bil­lion eu­ros this year, as tax tak­ings from out­put and im­ports dropped from 5.845 bil­lion in 2016 to 5.711 bil­lion in 2017. Con­tri­bu­tions rose from 6.155 bil­lion to 6.442 bil­lion eu­ros. Rev­enues from in­come and prop­erty taxes shrank from 3.71 bil­lion eu­ros in Jan­uary-March last year to 3.38 bil­lion this year.

To­tal ex­pen­di­ture fell con­sid­er­ably from 19.92 bil­lion eu­ros to 18.98 bil­lion, with so­cial ben­e­fits slid­ing from 9.51 bil­lion to 9.03 bil­lion eu­ros.

The gen­eral gov­ern­ment debt also de­clined, from 314.9 bil­lion eu­ros at the end of the last quar­ter of 2016 to 310.6 bil­lion in end-March. Still, a year ear­lier the debt had stood at 309.1 bil­lion eu­ros.

To­day, mean­while, is the dead­line for the sub­mis­sion of in­come tax dec­la­ra­tions fol­low­ing two ex­ten­sions granted by the Fi­nance Min­istry, with some 150,000 tax­pay­ers yet to file their state­ments un­til late yes­ter­day.

Data pro­cess­ing from the six mil­lion-odd state­ments sub­mit­ted un­til yes­ter­day show that a record 854.54 1.1485 num­ber of tax­pay­ers will have to pay ex­tra tax on top of what has al­ready been with­held from them: They come to 2,457,365 (or 41.24 per­cent of all state­ments), up from 2,318,902 (or 37.95 per­cent) last year.

Ma­jor ac­count­ing firms re­port that there is a con­sid­er­able hike in the tax due for tax­pay­ers earn­ing at least 35,000 eu­ros per year, while lower in­comes may see a small re­duc­tion.

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