ECONOMY

Tax tranches to be paid earlier

The Finance Ministry is taking steps to front-load next year’s budget timetable to avoid any new austerity measures in the second half of 2015 that would add to the already hefty tax burden.

The bulk of tax revenues, especially from income tax and the single property tax (ENFIA), will be collected from January to June. The risk of having to return the solidarity levy to same levels as 2014 – given that in 2015 it will be reduced by 30 percent, or 400 million euros – has convinced the Finance Ministry that it should front-load the budget’s collection timetable.

Ministry officials say that if there is an agreement with the country’s creditors, net budget revenues will amount to 27 billion euros against the 21.5 billion euros that the original draft budget provided for in the first half of the year.

The same officials add that tax collection is being brought forward to the first few months of the year to avoid the creation of a new wave of expired debts at the end of 2015, as has been the case in recent years when tax installment deadlines built up toward year-end.

The new plan provides for the first ENFIA installment to be payable by end-March, bringing revenues into the state coffers earlier than in 2014, when the first tranche was paid by the end of September. Next year taxpayers will be able to pay in eight or nine tranches.

Income tax statements will be submitted earlier than ever, with the deadline scheduled for April 30. That means the first tranche will be payable by end-May. Furthermore, virtually the entire income tax on pensions will be withheld from payment every month, eliminating the risk of the creation of new expired debts on that front.

This means that May, July and September will be the toughest months for taxpayers as they will have to pay both their ENFIA and income tax. In total tax revenues are projected to increase by 1.41 billion euros from this year. The increase will not come from any new measures, but those already voted on and which will be implemented for the first time next year.