All Greeks know they have a partner in their professional life. It’s the state, and it’s doing them no favors. Salary workers, freelance professionals, pensioners, businesspeople and even the unemployed (through indirect taxation) pay huge sums into the state coffers.
According to a report by the Markos Dragoumis Center for Liberal Studies (KEFIM), Greeks have to work for more than half of each year on average to maintain the state, and data show that this trend is increasing: In 2018 Greeks will have to work 198 days to cover their taxes and social security contributions. Consequently, they won’t start working for themselves until July 18.
The report shows that Greeks will have to work an extra 22 days for the state this year compared to 2017 despite the quite optimistic budget forecast for an economic expansion of 2.5 percent in 2018.
This year, on average, Greeks will work for 50 days to cover their direct taxes, 67 days for their indirect taxes and 81 days for their social security, according to the KEFIM report. It further shows that the government failed to meet its tax and social security contribution collection targets last year, but still projected a 4.9 percent rise in indirect taxes and social security contributions and a 1.6 percent increase from direct taxation.
The tax load on the Greeks is similar to that imposed on taxpayers in Germany and bigger than that on the Swedes, the Finns and the Italians. However, Greek citizens’ satisfaction with the state’s services in healthcare, education and justice is among the lowest in the member-states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This means that Greece is like a Northern European country in terms of tax and contributions, while as far as state services are concerned, it is a true Balkan state.