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Income criterion insufficient for social dividend distribution

By Thanos Tsiros

Almost half of Greece’s households appear to have survived on a monthly income below 800 euros in 2012, according to a report compiled by the Finance Ministry, which showed that 2,751,856 taxpayers, along with their spouses and protected members, declared an annual income of up to 9,500 euros for that year.

The aim of the report is to provide data to the committee that is responsible for determining how 450 million euros from the primary surplus, known as the “social dividend” will be distributed.

The report, which has been seen by Kathimerini, shows that out of those 2,751,856 families, one in three has real estate assets worth up to 100,000 euros and some 600,000 families have properties valued between 100,000 and 150,000 euros.

These figures are thought to be linked to the reduction of incomes, the increase in unemployment and soaring tax evasion over the last few years. The comparison of tax statements in 2013 with those in 2012 showed that within just one year the number of families with an annual income of less than 9,000 euros increased by 207,743 to reach 2,547,413.

The data, presented by General Secretary for Public Revenues Haris Theoharis last week, has created serious concerns in the committee as to what the final criteria for the distribution of the 450 million euros should be. If a handout of 400-500 euros were to be given to the poorest households based solely on income and property value, the income threshold would have to drop below the poverty level, given that 1,030,643 households declared incomes below 5,000 euros for 2012.

Sources say that the committee also asked for help from the Manpower Organization (OAED) in order to determine which taxpayers who appear poor on paper are also long-term unemployed. It emerged that just 200,000 long-term jobless are among the 1,030,643 who declared an incomes of less than 5,000 euros. The others who have been out of work for more than 12 months have declared family incomes of 5,000 euros and above for 2012, possibly because their spouse has a job or they have another source of income.

ekathimerini.com , Sunday April 6, 2014 (21:13)  
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