BUSINESS

One bank account seized each minute

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance

The country’s tax authorities have been performing 52 confiscations an hour, or almost one every minute, seizing the bank accounts of salary workers, pensioners and corporations.

According to official data, from the start of the year up until the end of October, during the working week, the tax authorities carried out more than 105,000 confiscations of bank deposits belonging to taxpayers with debts to the state.

Through confiscations as well as debt settlements (with the 12-tranche payment scheme), the taxman managed to collect a total of 4.5 billion euros in the first 10 months of the year, and it appears this figure will grow to 6 billion by the end of 2018.

Data analysis indicates that the biggest wave of confiscations was recorded in the first quarter of the year; since then the tax authorities have dropped a gear, mainly due to empty bank accounts and the tax compliance of a number of state debtors. Interestingly, in August, the month when Greece exited the bailout programs, the number of confiscations declined considerably, totaling only 48, against 5,227 in September and 7,066 in October.

Even so, tax offices’ judicial departments have been asked to increase the pressure on people with debts to the state to enter the 12-installment payment program, and to tell them that if they don’t they will face forced collection measures for debts of as little as 500 euros.

A senior official at the Independent Authority for Public Revenue noted that collections have increased mainly as a result of the pressure on debtors by the tax administration. Email messages and telephone calls, among other methods, have forced many debtors to comply in the last few years.

Still, state debtors have soared from 1 million in 2009 to over 4.2 million today, partly due to overtaxation, and the tax administration has sent 4.85 million online confiscation notices to them in the period from 2015 to 2018.

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