BUSINESS

Budget surplus was built on confiscations

THANOS TSIROS

TAGS: Finance

Asset seizures and debt settlements were the two main revenue sources that generated excessive primary budget surpluses in 2016 and 2017.

Last year the takings from previous financial years amounted to 2.9 billion euros, which was some 750 million euros more than in 2015.

Without this overperformance, 2017 tax revenues would have shown a considerable deterioration in comparison with 2016, in spite of the storm of tax measures.

The so-called “voluntary revelation” of undeclared incomes, large-scale confiscations of bank deposits (even for small debts), and the payments of those who managed to enter the 100-tranche payment schemes and adhere to them, have made a major contribution toward those billions in revenues.

In 2017, 1.7 million confiscation orders were issued, against just 670,000 in 2015, and mainly concerned small debtors. This is why the number of debtors with arrears of up to 3,000 euros fell, while that of debtors with greater arrears rose.

State collections from overdue debts exceeded 5 billion euros in total last year. However, the outlook is not so favorable for the Finance Ministry, as many of the abovementioned reasons that led to the flourishing of revenues are set to lose momentum in 2018.

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