BUSINESS

Dues to the state keep on climbing

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance, Taxation

Taxpayers failed to pay taxes and fines totaling 849 million euros in August, with the bulk of that amount concerning their income tax. However, tax revenues still rose this year compared to 2017.

Independent Authority for Public Revenue data showed on Friday that taxpayers ran up dues to the state of 6.4 billion euros in the January-August period, taking the overall amount to 102.6 billion euros. If fines and penalties are added to that figure, it rises to 185 billion euros, which is above the country’s gross domestic product.

The increase in overdue payments is a significant concern for the Finance Ministry, as this may have an impact on budget revenues, as was the case last year when tax takings registered a shortfall of 1 billion euros compared to the target. What the government is interested in seeing is whether taxpayers who were unable to pay the first tranche of this year’s income tax will enter the ministry’s favorable payment scheme, which provides for the payment of dues in 12 monthly installments, with interest.

The figures released showed that 3,933,628 individuals and businesses owe more than 101.7 billion euros to the state, an amount that is growing by the month as taxpayers are unable to meet their obligations due to the high amounts involved. Over 1.14 million debtors have already suffered forced measures, such as the seizing of salaries and bank deposits. It appears this measure is having some degree of success, as it has led to the state collecting more than 3.5 billion euros in old and new debts since the start of the year – a much higher figure than in previous years.

Despite the constant rise in debts to the state, the primary surplus of the general government budget in the first eight months of the year was 868 million euros higher than in the same period in 2017, according to a report by the Parliament’s Budget Office. State budget tax revenues were up by 624 million, while the Public Investment Program’s revenues increased by 244 million.

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