Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis appeared to rule out on Monday the possibility of people and firms who owe the state money being given longer to repay their debts.
“The Finance Ministry does not share the view that there is a need to establish a larger number of monthly repayments for debts to the state,” said Mavraganis in response to a question submitted by Independent Greeks.
“Such a tactic would not lead to the establishment of an effective system for regulating debt repayments and the promotion of a modern attitude towards taxation practices,” added Mavraganis.
The deputy finance minister said that the government was making going after large debtors a priority.
Last year, Greece seized roughly 1.5 billion euros of cash and assets from individuals and businesses that owed the state money. However, it is still owed more than 50 billion euros by debtors after an increase of some 13 billion euros in overdue payments last year.
Mavraganis said the government has the right to seize up to a quarter of people’s salaries if their monthly repayments are more than 1,000 euros.
The government tabled an amendment last week to prevent home repossessions for those owing less than 200,000 euros.
Mavraganis’s response appears to contradict comments made earlier this month by the Finance Ministry’s general secretary for revenues, Haris Theocharis.
“The current framework for settling debts is outdated,” he told Kathimerini. “We can follow the lead of banks, which create payment plans when customers cannot pay the installments on their loans.
“We will ask taxpayers themselves to propose what they can pay. They will have to provide evidence of the financial status. Based on this information, we will judge each case individually.”