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Budget revenues miss their target on low tax collections

By Prokopis Hatzinikolaou

The primary surplus in the 2014 budget amounted to 835 million euros in January against a target of 955 million for that period, according to figures released on Monday by the Finance Ministry.

Reduced revenues from taxes and from European Union funds resulted in the surplus shrinking by 120 million euros, data showed. Revenues amounted to 4.41 billion euros, down by 249 million or 5.3 percent from the target. However, this is the first time that the ministry’s General Secretariat for Public Revenues has accelerated the process of tax returns, paying back to taxpayers 196 million euros more than originally planned for January, i.e. 296 million euros instead of 99 million.

In contrast, results are negative in the intake department from indirect taxes and special consumption taxes, mostly in fuel. These two sources together fetched 132 million euros less last month.

The net result of the execution of the state budget in January showed a surplus of 619 million euros, against a surplus of 177 million in the same month in 2013 and a target for a surplus of 719 million. The primary surplus amounted to 835 million euros, against a primary surplus of 415 million in January 2013 and a target for 955 million.

The decline of revenues by 249 million euros is attributed to three factors: the reduction in receipts from the income tax of 2013 by 192 million euros; the drop in takings from direct taxes of previous fiscal years that amounted to 158 million euros; and the decline in revenues from fuel value-added tax and from the special consumption tax on energy products by 111 million euros (38.4 percent) and 21 million (5.7 percent) respectively.

Losses in the revenues front were offset by the containment of expenditure, which came in 253 million euros less than planned, amounting to 3.83 billion euros. This was mostly thanks to the reduction of primary expenditure by 405 million euros compared to its target to reach 3.35 billion euros.

The spending of the Public Investment Program amounted to 308 million euros, an increase of 208 million euros from the target of 100 million euros and of 241 million from the same month last year.

ekathimerini.com , Monday February 24, 2014 (22:25)  
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