BUSINESS

Confiscations fetch less cash than expected

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU, EVGENIA TZORTZI

TAGS: Finance

The Independent Authority for Public Revenue last year ordered the confiscation of 1.72 million bank accounts, mainly of people with small debts to the state. Sources from the authority tell Kathimerini the wave of confiscations will grow further in 2018.

However, this activity has failed to reap the expected amounts. Out of the orders the authority issued to banks last year, there was money in just 582,000 of those accounts, and half of those which weren’t empty contained less than 10 euros. Just 2 percent had more than 5,000 euros.

Figures show that the average amount confiscated per account came to 450 euros in 2017, down from 500 euros in 2016. In total, the tax mechanism removed 260 million euros from bank accounts last year.

The vast majority of state debtors – some 80 percent – owe up to 2,000 euros each to the state, i.e. a total sum of 1.2 billion euros. The other 99 billion euros is owed to the state by 1 million debtors and is virtually uncollectible as it mostly concerns bankrupt companies, excessive fines of the tax mechanism as well as forfeited collateral. The number of debtors has more than quadrupled in the years of the financial crisis: From 1 million in 2010, they now exceed 4.1 million.

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