Greek tax in­creases top OECD chart

Re­port shows bur­den on lo­cal tax­pay­ers has risen more in last decade than in any other mem­ber-state

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

Greece is the last decade’s tax hike cham­pion among the 35 mem­ber­states of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion and Devel­op­ment, ac­cord­ing to a new OECD re­port. The re­port, which re­flects the huge bur­den im­posed on Greek tax­pay­ers, shows that Greece re­mains the global leader not only in the sum of taxes but also in cat­e­gories such as con­sump­tion tax­a­tion and prop­erty levies. The OECD fig­ures re­veal that tax rev­enues in Greece in­creased by 8.2 per­cent­age points of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct in the decade from 2007 to 2017, and even if one fo­cuses only on the 2010-17 bailout pro­gram pe­riod there is a hike from 32 per­cent to 39.4 per­cent of GDP.

An­other in­ter­est­ing el­e­ment is that most coun­tries in the world have been re­duc­ing their tax rates since 2014, in terms of both di­rect and in­di­rect tax­a­tion, main­tain­ing high rev­enues. Greece is the ex­cep­tion, as it has cho­sen to per­form its fis­cal ad­just­ment through rais­ing tax rates and not by cur­tail­ing its ex­pen­di­ture, the “Rev­enue Statis­tics 1965-2017” re­port showed.

There­fore, in Greece, es­pe­cially in the pe­riod from 2015 to 2017 – and against the global trend – taxes and so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions in­creased dis­pro­por­tion­ately, mak­ing Greece the coun­try with the steep­est tax in­crease in that pe­riod, from 35.7 to 39.4 per­cent of GDP. No­tably, even though GDP shrank by 25 per­cent over the last decade, tax rev­enues grew in ab­so­lute fig­ures too in the pre­vi­ous cou­ple of years, jump­ing from $71.6 bil­lion in 2015 to $78.9 bil­lion in 2017.

In the years 2016-2017, Greece ranked sev­enth in tax hikes, with taxes on in­comes and cor­po­rate prof­its reach­ing 9 per­cent of GDP and ac­count­ing for 22.8 per­cent of all state rev­enues.

The hike in prop­erty tax­a­tion is more stag­ger­ing: From around 600 mil­lion eu­ros or 0.2 per­cent of GDP in 2010, rev­enues from prop­erty tax­a­tion had soared 516 per­cent – i.e. more than six­fold – by 2017 to reach 3.7 bil­lion eu­ros, or 2.1 per­cent of GDP.

Greece is also a leader in in­di­rect tax­a­tion: The var­i­ous levies on goods and ser­vices amounted to 15.4 per­cent of GDP last year, and to 39.1 per­cent of all tax rev­enues. This com­pares with 26.2 per­cent of rev­enues in Ger­many, 29.1 per­cent in Spain and 24.4 per­cent in France.

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