BUSINESS

Debts to state rise every month

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance

Greeks’ debts to the state continue to grow, as households and enterprises remain unable to meet their tax obligations.

Unpaid taxes rose almost 1 billion euros between end-September and end-October, with half of that (507.3 million euros) in the form of unpaid income taxes. Property owners were unable to pay 173.6 million euros toward their Single Property Tax (ENFIA), while freelance professionals and enterprises failed to pay 203.1 million euros in value-added tax dues, as well as fines amounting to 47 million euros.

In total, 972 million euros in taxes went unpaid in October, while the tax authorities carried out 7,066 confiscations from taxpayers over debts to the state in November.

Official data show that the level of individuals’ and corporations’ debt has come to 103.36 billion euros, and the sum soars to 185 billion when the ensuing fines and penalties are added, exceeding the country’s gross domestic product.

Debts to the state created from the start of this year to end-October add up to 8.8 billion euros. The number of taxpayers with debts to the state reached 4.2 million, practically one in every two, and 1.79 million of them are exposed to forced collection measures such as confiscations.

Overtaxation has led to overindebted households and businesses, and this has in turn led to the online seizure of salaries and pensions and the freezing of bank accounts as the law provides. According to a report by the Greek Ombudsman, confiscations doubled from 650,000 in 2015 to 1.3 million in 2016, while they rose last year to 1.7 million, concerning 312,000 state debtors.

Already 1,155,649 debtors have suffered forced collection measures, a practice that has been particularly successful for the state revenue collection mechanism, as more than 4.48 billion euros of this year’s and older debts have been retrieved since the start of 2018. This particularly impressive figure – compared with previous years’ performance – may reach up to 6 billion euros by the end of the year, Finance Ministry officials say.

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