Property tax evaders targeted

Tax authorities are going after the more than 500,000 property owners who refrained from paying the special tax tagged on to electricity bills last year, while official figures put revenues from the tax at over 2.2 billion euros.

The Finance Ministry is more than satisfied with the collections from the special tax, imposed last year for the first time and set to continue for this year. If tax authorities do get to collect the money due by the half a million owners who have not paid, receipts will exceed 3 billion euros.

Although there is a caretaker in the minister?s chair, he has reportedly exercised particular pressure on the tax collection mechanism in a bid to increase revenues, and has enjoyed a degree of moderate success in that field, as tax offices have been reporting increased revenues over the last few days.

Minister Giorgos Zannias held a meeting with the other top ministry officials on Wednesday and discussed the results of the first five months as well as the prospects for the summer, which promises to be a particularly difficult period. The meeting heard that cross-checking is bearing fruit, while receipts from overdue debts are constantly increasing.

The data for the January-May period showed that revenues collected in the country?s 13 biggest tax offices posted a 14 percent rise on a yearly basis. The five largest customs offices, which account for some 65 percent of revenues, collected 0.5 percent less in the January-May period, but in May alone they posted a 3.7 percent annual rise.

Collections from outstanding debts reached 700 million euros following the change in the way debtors are approached: The activation of the law providing for the confiscation of real estate, salaries and pensions seems to have done the trick as a number of debtors appear to have entered the process for a favorable settlement or paid a portion of their debts.

It was also confirmed that the disposable cash in the public coffers amounts to 2 billion euros, which Kathimerini understands will only serve state needs until July 20.

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