Finance Minister to press tax office chiefs

Finance Minister Giorgos Zannias was on Wednesday meeting with the heads of the largest tax offices and customs houses in greater Athens in a bid to boost the collection of much-needed revenue as state coffers dwindle ahead of general elections the outcome of which will determine whether or not Greece continues to receive foreign rescue loans.

According to sources, tax authorities are to focus their efforts on collecting outstanding tax debts, zone in on companies that have been withholding value added tax payments and chase arrears for taxes on salaried services.

Tax offices are reportedly sending out warning notes to debtors with large tax arrears, calling on them to make good on debts to the state or face seizures of properties and other assets. Officials are to focus on those with debts of up to 3,000 euros in a bid to make a dent in a total sum of 45 billion euros in uncollected taxes.

May has been a particularly bad month for state revenues as in the first 20 days of the month, which included a general election, the inflow to public coffers was at least 20 percent lower than in the same period last year.

According to the State General Accounting Office, the shortfall in state revenue is 1.3 billion euros. On the basis of this figure, it is estimated that authorities have enough cash to pay salaries and pensions until the end of June.