Gov’t refutes minister’s claim on 12-tranche tax payment

The Finance Ministry on Wednesday shot down claims by Alternate Labor Minister Rania Antonopoulou of taxes being payable in 12 installments, saying that no such measure is on the table.

Antonopoulou backed reports in Wednesday’s media that the government is considering the online payment of taxes in 12 tranches, adding in an interview to Thessaloniki’s state Praktoreio FM radio that the Finance Ministry has already commissioned a study to this end and its conclusions would become known this month. She did not reveal when the system would start applying.

A couple of hours later, however, an informal statement from the Finance Ministry rebuffed Antonopoulou’s claims, saying that “today’s media reports about the payment of taxes in 12 installments do not correspond to reality.”

It added that the ministry is constantly looking for measures and regulations that can facilitate the collection of taxes in a way that would ensure the financial sustainability of corporations and taxpayers.

“A recent example is the ministerial decision for the settlement of debts up to 50,000 euros in the context of the extrajudicial compromise,” the statement noted.

A ministry official, meanwhile, told Kathimerini that a study on the option of paying taxes in 12 tranches is impossible to conduct at present.

He added that while the government acknowledges the huge tax burden placed in the shoulders of citizens in recent years and the pressure to meet their obligations, extending the payment of taxes is just not possible. The country cannot afford to have 2017’s taxes paid in two years’s time, he said. This would create both a fiscal and and a cash problem, as some 3 billion euros due this year would be collected in 2019, creating a hole in state finances for 2018.

What could be done, he added, would be to bring forward the declaration of incomes to February each year so as to allow for 10 monthly installments from March until December (compared to three tranches today), while the Single Property tax could be paid in nine tranches (from five today).