BUSINESS

Tax burden in Greece is disproportionately high

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Taxation, Finance

Greek households and businesses paid 76 billion euros in taxes and social security contributions last year, according to a study by Eurostat that placed Greece among the countries with the highest burden on taxpayers.

The study shows that taxes and contributions amount to 41.5 percent of Greece’s gross domestic product, putting the country on a par with Germany, eighth among European Union member-states. However, citizens in other countries with large taxes enjoy high-quality public services and do not have to pay their own way in healthcare or education as is the case in Greece.

While those other countries have introduced reductions in taxes and contributions in recent years, the burden on Greek taxpayers grew by over seven percentage points during the country’s economic crisis, and the fiscal adjustment was primarily carried out by increasing taxes and contributions and not by slashing expenditure.

Data show that while taxes and contributions amounted to 34.2 percent of GDP in 2010, they rose to 39.6 percent in 2015 and increased further to 41.5 percent during the period when SYRIZA was in power. In Portugal the same figure stood at 37.2 percent, while it came to 35.4 percent in Spain and 33.8 percent in Cyprus.

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