Four million toiling under tax
The policy of high taxation and levies, such as the solidarity tax and the exorbitant ENFIA property tax that has wrought destruction on the middle class, is taking an unbearable toll on Greek households, according to the latest data published by the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (IAPR).
More specifically, within the space of four weeks from the end of August to the beginning of September, the tax debts of citizens increased by 1.4 billion euros, while another 510,428 people were added to list of those with tax debts, bringing their total number to 4.3 million.
The rise in overdue debts to the state from 6.4 billion in late August to 7.8 billion in late September is the biggest in recent years and demonstrates the difficulties faced by households to meet their tax obligations.
And despite the claim by the government and the Parliamentary Budget Office that the phenomenon is “seasonal,” the situation appears to have become the norm, with Greeks’ overdue tax debts growing with each year that passes.
In total, the tax debts of individuals and businesses have reached a staggering 103.09 billion euros.
And if fines and surcharges are factored in, the amount of debt is more than 185 billion euros – higher than the country’s gross domestic product.
Of the 103.09 billion euros, 7.8 billion was added in the period stretching from January to September.
Moreover, 1,148,583 of the 4.3 million people (almost one in two Greeks) that owe money to the tax office have already been penalized with seizures from their salaries and bank accounts. And more people are expected to face similar penalties.
However, the wave of confiscations is reportedly bearing fruit, as more than 3.9 billion euros has already been deposited in the state coffers – an impressive tally compared to previous years.
A similar disheartening picture has been painted by the recent quarterly report of the Center for the Collection of Social Security Arrears (KEAO), which said that arrears soared to 34.35 billion euros from 33.8 billion in the previous quarter.