ECONOMY

Expired debts continue to mount

It seems that there is no slowing the growth of expired debts in Greece, as according to data presented on Tuesday by the General Secretariat for Public Revenues, taxpayers and enterprises failed to pay taxes totaling 2.48 billion euros in the year’s first couple of months.

The increase in new expired debts compared to the same period in 2014 amounted to 124 million euros.

It appears that taxpayers are awaiting a much-discussed regulation that would allow them to settle their debts to the tax authorities in 100 installments. This is also the hope of the Finance Ministry, which aims to collect some 600 million euros from the new payment scheme, after the express settlement deal fetched 147 million euros in just over a week last month.

The General Secretariat’s statistics – presented following a considerable delay – pointed to 1.163 billion euros of debts expiring in February, after the expiry of 1.317 billion euros of debts in January. This took the sum of all expired debts to the state to the amount of 75.732 billion euros.

Out of the 2.48 billion euros of expired debts created in January and February, some 1.19 billion is seen as collectable. Debts of 155 million euros were collected in the same period.

Data further identify delays in inspections, a common occurrence during election periods: The biggest problem is in the monitoring of very wealthy taxpayers, offshore companies and money forwarded to other countries. In these high-interest categories of inspections, only 79 cases were closed, with 25.02 million euros of fines imposed, although only 4.41 million euros of that was paid. Another 1,286 checks were ongoing.

On the other hand, there has been an acceleration in inspections at large enterprises: The number of completed checks came to 73 in the first couple of months of the year, while another 912 checks were ongoing, according to the figures released by the General Secretariat.