ECONOMY

Small share of Greek taxpayers covers bulk of income tax revenues

Small share of Greek taxpayers covers bulk of income tax revenues

Less than a fifth of Greek taxpayers cover 90 percent of the income tax the Greek state receives every year, while just a few enterprises pay the bulk of corporate tax, an economists’ conference on the Greek budget for 2019 heard on Tuesday in Athens.

The data presented by Vassilios Zoumpoulidis, assistant professor of economics at the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology, showed that 1.2 million taxpayers, or 19 percent of individuals filing income tax every year, pay 6.2 billion euros (7 billion US dollars), or about 90 percent of the total tax revenue, into the state coffers.

The statistics also showed that just 4.5 percent of corporations account for 83 percent of the state's revenues from corporate income tax.

Greece’s taxation policy of the last few years is projected to continue into 2019, Zoumpoulidis said.

He added that the bulk of property ownership taxes is also paid by a minority, with 66 percent of the state's takings from that source coming from just 33 percent of owners.

Zoumpoulidis went on to estimate that a reduction of tax rates for individuals would increase disposable incomes, consumption and savings.

University of Athens professor of economics Panagiotis Petrakis said that the government will have to revise its targets for the excessively high primary surplus of the budget, while Napoleon Maravegias, international and European studies professor at the same university, said that the high primary surpluses cannot be sustained for many years, “especially with the existing distorted form of taxation.”

The Greek government has set a primary surplus target of 3.6 percent of the country's gross domestic product in its draft 2019 budget. [Xinhua]

The conference was organized by the Economic Chamber of Greece. [Xinhua]