BUSINESS

Greeks refrain from paying taxes during traditional holiday month

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance

Almost half a million taxpayers failed to pay taxes of more than half a billion euros in August, according to the statistics of the Independent Authority for Public Revenues.

These arrears mainly concerned income tax, where debts grew 15.6 percent compared to the same month in 2018, and value-added tax, where debts increased 5.9 percent from August last year.

Tax administration officials attribute the increase in debtors and arrears to “seasonal factors,” adding that the figures will decline significantly in the following months. By “seasonal factors,” they mean that while many people do not pay their taxes in August, they do meet their obligations in the following months (or join the standard system of debt settlement).

Taxpayers’ expired dues in September – i.e. based on arrears created up to August 31 – totaled 104.9 billion euros, of which 19.2 billion is considered uncollectible. Therefore the collectible amount comes to 85.7 billion euros.

In total, there are 4,351,315 individuals and corporations with debts to the state. The number of debtors who could suffer forced collection measures reaches 1.8 million, while 1.2 million taxpayers have already been subject to confiscations of salaries and bank deposits. The pace of confiscations appears to be slowing, as in September they numbered 5,459 while in the first nine months of the year they amounted to 59,506.

In the January-September period new debts of 5.27 billion euros were created, of which 4.9 billion concerned unpaid taxes. Of the 518 million euros of debts created in September alone, 132.18 million concerned debts from income tax, 264.78 million from VAT and 72 million from court expenses.

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