Concerns are growing in the Finance Ministry as expired debts to the tax authorities grew at an unexpectedly high rate in March – a month with no major obligations. Unpaid taxes came to 776 million euros in March, taking total new arrears to the state in the first quarter of the year to 3.55 billion euros.
According to figures released on Friday by the tax administration, the sum of old and new debts to the state amounted to 101.6 billion euros at end-March. Out of the 3.55 billion created in Q1, 3.3 billion euros was in the form of unpaid taxes.
Ministry officials argue that the increase in tax debts is due to the fact that many taxpayers missed the deadlines for them to pay installments as part of debt settlement programs concerning the revelation of previously undeclared incomes. Other reasons cited are that taxpayers have failed to pay fines, as well as many individuals and enterprises having exhausted all means for paying taxes.
If this situation continues in the following months, the hole in budget revenues will grow considerably, given that the submission process for income tax statements has just begun and the first tranche is payable by end-July.
The state’s response to this phenomenon is confiscations, which in March alone numbered 21,275. This takes the sum of taxpayers who have suffered confiscations to 1,109,971, while the total number of Greeks owing to the state has risen to 3,907,847.