Being good about taxes may pay off

The government is exploring the idea of rewarding consistent taxpayers, Alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani said, amid concerns of a backlash from those who have been paying their taxes regularly in recent years and may stop doing so in protest at the government’s plan to offer significant write-offs to debtors.

The Finance Ministry is looking at how it can give a boost to taxpayers who paid their dues in full in the last couple of years (for the 2012 and 2013 financial years) and who will continue to meet their obligations regularly through the end of this year for 2014.

In an interview with Real FM radio on Friday, Valavani said that this measure, which is far from finalized, will probably be submitted to Parliament as part of one of a series of upcoming draft laws, either with that for the property tax or the income tax. It will likely provide for a reduction in taxes for people and companies that are consistent with their obligations.

“It is still a thought,” said Valavani. “It has not yet taken its final shape and I don’t want to jump the gun.”

She explained that the measure will concern taxpayers who have regularly paid their obligations for the financial years of 2012 and 2013, and will complete their obligations for 2014 by the end of the year. “There is no point in asking for more, as long as they have paid their dues for the two previous years and those that have not yet expired,” she said. These consistent taxpayers will “receive some bonus at the end of the year, which will most likely be associated with the tax they will pay for 2014,” the minister said.

Recently, Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Vassilis Korkidis said that consistent taxpayers “feel cheated as there is no provision for them to be rewarded.” His opinion was seconded by the head of the Athens Chamber of Small Industries, Pavlos Ravanis, who referred to taxpayers’s feeling of injustice when they heard that the government is drafting a law to cut the tax arrears of state debtors by as much as 50 percent.

Budget data for the first month of the year pointed to a 20.3 percent shortfall in state revenues, coming to 3.68 billion euros against a target for 4.62 billion.