BUSINESS

Overdue arrears to the state shot up in February

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance, Taxation

State debtors’ expectations of a new settlement plan, the fact that taxpayers’ resources are increasingly drying up, and unpaid fines sent new overdue arrears generated this year to 2.038 billion euros by the end of February, according to data from the tax administration.

In February, which is a “quiet” month for tax obligations, the new stock of unpaid taxes amounted to over 1.3 billion euros, and that came on top of the 714 million euros generated from unpaid obligations in the first month of the year.

Finance Ministry officials attribute the high level of dues that piled up in the first two months of 2019 to expectations that the planned 120-installment payment scheme will also incorporate debts created this year. However, it is most likely that 2019 debts will be excluded from the new arrangement, so that taxpayers with debts to the state will have to settle them in 12 tranches.

According to the figures published by the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, the sum total of overdue arrears (old and new) came to 104.6 billion euros at end-February. One sixth of that, or 18.25 billion euros, is considered uncollectible, which effectively brings the sum down to 86.4 billion euros.

State debtors comprise 4,005,773 individuals and corporations, with those liable to suffer forced measures for debt collection coming to 1,836,953. A total of 1,186,380 have already been subject to forced collection measures (i.e. the confiscation of salaries and bank deposits). In January and February, 17,942 confiscations were made, amounting to 300 per day, including weekends and holidays, and fetching a remarkable 883 million euros. Fresh overdue arrears came to 2.147 billion euros in the first couple of months, of which 2.038 billion concerned taxes.

A Finance Ministry official argues that the new arrangement, to be tabled in Parliament after Easter, is expected to fetch over 10-12 billion euros. He added that the structure of the settlement plan will even allow low-income debtors to enter it with a minimum monthly tranche of 20 euros.

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