Dues to state keep on climb­ing

Bur­dened by over­tax­a­tion, in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses added an­other 849 mln to the debt pile in Au­gust

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

Tax­pay­ers failed to pay taxes and fines to­tal­ing 849 mil­lion eu­ros in Au­gust, with the bulk of that amount con­cern­ing their in­come tax. How­ever, tax rev­enues still rose this year com­pared to 2017.

In­de­pen­dent Au­thor­ity for Pub­lic Rev­enue data showed yes­ter­day that tax­pay­ers ran up dues to the state of 6.4 bil­lion eu­ros in the Jan­uary-Au­gust pe­riod, tak­ing the over­all amount to 102.6 bil­lion eu­ros. If fines and penal­ties are added to that fig­ure, it rises to 185 bil­lion eu­ros, which is above the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

The in­crease in over­due pay­ments is a sig­nif­i­cant con­cern for the Fi­nance Min­istry, as this may have an im­pact on bud­get rev­enues, as was the case last year when tax tak­ings reg­is­tered a short­fall of 1 bil­lion eu­ros com­pared to the target. What the govern­ment is in­ter­ested in see­ing is whether tax­pay­ers who were un­able to pay the first tranche of this year’s in­come tax will en­ter the min­istry’s fa­vor­able pay­ment scheme, which pro­vides for the pay­ment of dues in 12 monthly in­stall­ments, with in­ter­est.

The fig­ures re­leased showed that 3,933,628 in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses owe more than 101.7 bil­lion eu­ros to the state, an amount that is grow­ing by the month as tax­pay­ers are un­able to meet their obli­ga­tions due to the high amounts in­volved.

Over 1.14 mil­lion debtors have al­ready suf­fered forced mea­sures, such as the seiz­ing of salaries and bank de­posits. It ap­pears this mea­sure is hav­ing some de­gree of suc­cess, as it has led to the state col­lect­ing more than 3.5 bil­lion eu­ros in old and new debts since the start of the year – a much higher fig­ure than in pre­vi­ous years.

De­spite the con­stant rise in debts to the state, the pri­mary sur­plus of the gen­eral govern­ment bud­get in the first eight months of the year was 868 mil­lion eu­ros higher than in the same pe­riod in 2017, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the Par­lia­ment’s Bud­get Of­fice. State bud­get tax rev­enues were up by 624 mil­lion, while the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Pro­gram’s rev­enues in­creased by 244 mil­lion.

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