BUSINESS

State resorts to confiscation of bank deposits and properties of debtors

EVGENIA TZORTZI, PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Economy

The state is carrying out a blitz of confiscations, with tax authorities and social security funds targeting the small amounts left in Greeks’ bank accounts, as well as their real estate assets, to cover taxpayers’ expired debts.

Data seen by Kathimerini show that money was confiscated from 151,000 bank accounts in the first half of 2016, against 136,000 in the whole of 2015. The average amount taken per confiscation in January-June 2016 was 530 euros. Tax authorities managed to collect no more than 80 million euros in the process, as 97 percent of the confiscations concerned amounts below 3,000 euros each.

The forwarding of confiscation notices has reached a torrential rate, totaling up to 10,000 per day, although just 13 percent are actually carried out. June was quite a prolific month as 32,500 bank accounts were raided by the tax authorities.

The mass confiscations of bank savings are facilitated by the fact that the state now has full access to all bank clients’ accounts.

The seizure of bank savings is expected to expand further in the coming months and up to the end of the year, because, as the technical agreement attached to the bailout program signed by the government and its creditors dictates, the state must collect 5 billion euros by the end of 2016 from account confiscations and property auctions.

Tax authorities have started programs for online property auctions, with 55 notices already uploaded on the website of the General Secretariat for Public Revenue for auctions to take place up to October 19. They concern apartments and farmland.

As for the social security funds, the authority created to collect expired debts managed to garner just 170 million euros in the year to end-June, of which only 10 percent came from confiscations – the rest concerned payment scheme collections. The target for the entire year is an ambitious 750 million.

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