January sees debts to state grow by close to 1 bln euros

By Prokopis hatzinikolaou

The country’s finances may be steadily improving, but Finance Ministry data indicate that households and corporations are failing to meet their tax obligations. The figures for January showed on Wednesday that the new debts of taxpayers and enterprises came to 962 million euros.

This takes the total amount of debts to the state to 63.26 billion euros.

Ministry data revealed that in January it collected expired debts totaling 266 million euros, of which 61 million was in the form of “new debts” – i.e. created since January 1, 2014 – while the remainder originated from previous financial years.

Taxpayers who do not pay their dues on time face heavy fines and interest payments. The new system, which came into force on January 1, provides for any tax amount not collected before its deadline to have interest of 0.73 percent added for every month of delay from the very first day after the deadline. This adds up to 8.76 percent for each year. Delays of two months or more also trigger a fine totaling 10 percent of the tax due, which after one year increases to 20 percent and after two years to 30 percent. Interest is calculated automatically from the deadline to the actual payment of the debt.