Bid to boost state revenue [UPDATE]

Finance Minister Giorgos Zannias on Friday convened a meeting of all his general secretaries in a bid to formulate a strategy for boosting the trickling flow of revenue into state coffers by activating the tax collection mechanism.

According to the State General Accounting Office, the shortfall in state revenue is 1.3 billion euros. On the basis of this figure, it is estimated that state coffers have enough cash to pay salaries and pensions until the end of June.

May has been a particularly bad month for state revenues as in the first 20 days of the month, which included a general election, the inflow to public coffers was at least 20 percent lower than in the same period last year. State television NET quoted a government source on Friday as saying that state revenue was down by 30 percent.

The ministry is counting on the payment of corporate tax in the last 10 days of this month and the Special Property Tax of 2009 due by June 30.

According to sources, ministry inspectors will zone in on companies that are withholding value added tax payments. State revenue from VAT in the period between January to April was down by 800 million euros compared to the same period in 2011. There are fears that this shortfall will reach 1 billion euros if immediate action is not taken to reverse the trend.

Tax offices are also due to start sending out warning notes to debtors with large tax arrears though there are doubts about the potential for gains in this area due to a deepening recession. The notes will call on taxpayers to make good on debts to the state or face seizures of properties and other assets. Officials will focus on those with debts of up to 3,000 euros in a bid to make a dent in a total sum of 45 billion euros in uncollected taxes.