Budget fears as revenues slump


Below-target revenues in the first eight months of the year have led to the creation of a 1.7-billion-euro hole in the budget, according to the State General Accounting Office, which for the first time this year has brought the primary surplus below the target of the midterm fiscal plan, albeit marginally: It amounted to 3.55 billion euros, against 3.573 billion provided for in the budget.

The provisional figures released on Thursday showed that the budget revenues missed their target by 1.759 billion euros, with tax revenues and takings from privatizations sorely off course, while tax rebates were found to have exceeded their target by 400 million euros.

The shortfall in tax revenues before rebates amounted to 944 million euros, which the Finance Ministry attributed to people putting off paying the first tranche of the Single Property Tax (ENFIA) from August to September, accounting for an amount of about 1 billion euros.

The definitive data that will be issued in the next 10 days will indicate the precise extent of the problem in budget revenues, but the provisional figures are likely to have a negative impact on the negotiations with the country’s creditors that begin next month. It is likely that the creditors, particularly the International Monetary Fund, will demand additional measures for next year for the country to meet the target of a primary surplus of 3.5 percent of gross domestic product.

September figures, which will be released early next month, will give a clearer picture of the course of the budget’s implementation. They will show whether the approximately 650,000 taxpayers who failed to pay their first installment of income tax in July have done so by end-September along with the second tranche, or if they have entered a 12-tranche payment plan. They will also show how many property owners have paid their first ENFIA tranche.