BUSINESS

New tax arrears balloon in February

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance

Taxpayers are increasingly unable to meet their tax obligations, as their expired debts to the state grew further in February and budget revenues recorded a shortfall in March, according to official data.

In a month with little in the way of tax obligations (no income tax or property tax was due except for through special payment plans), the new unpaid taxes (such as value-added tax etc) amounted to 1.9 billion euros, compared with 1 billion euros of arrears created in February 2017.

Sources attributed this rather unexpected increase in new tax debts – the second highest for one month since the outbreak of the crisis – to the failure of a number of taxpayers to meet deadlines for obligations stemming from the voluntary revelation of incomes. Last July taxpayers created arrears of 2 billion euros.

If the following months produce a similar picture, the hole in the budget revenues will widen considerably, given that the submission of income tax declarations is about to begin and the first installment will be due by end-July. September will also see the payment of the first tranche of the Single Property Tax (ENFIA).

According to the data released on Monday by the tax administration, the sum of outstanding dues to the state came to 101.6 billion euros at end-February. In the first couple of months of the year taxpayers created new arrears of 2.8 billion, of which 2.6 billion concerned unpaid taxes. In January the new tax arrears amounted to 693 million, so the remaining 1.907 billion emerged in February.

As the Independent Authority for Public Revenue actually clarified, out of the 2.601 billion euros of 2018 tax dues, 1 billion is owed by just 26 debtors. The number of state debtors is just short of 4 million (3,964,279), with some 1.74 million of them liable to confiscations.

The authority conducted 20,839 confiscations of salaries, pensions or savings in February, leading to a total of 940 million euros of old and new debts being collected in the first two months of the year.

State General Accounting Office data showed on Monday that the net budget revenues amounted to 2.753 billion euros in March, missing their target by 315 million euros.

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