ECONOMY

Budget resists pressure in March

budget-resists-pressure-in-march

State and social security revenues lagged by only 700-750 million euros last month, a figure the Finance Ministry considers quite satisfactory considering how much of a battering the economy appears to have taken from the coronavirus epidemic. The ministry is also considering the postponement of income tax statement submissions.

A ministry official noted that the budget shortfall in March was less than 15 percent, both for state revenues and the social security system; this is quite impressive given the circumstances and shows that the incentives granted for the payment of taxes and contributions were successful, and that a payment culture has developed among citizens.

The same official pointed out that those figures concern the taxes and contributions of previous months, before the crisis broke out, which means the enterprises had no problem in meeting their obligations. He further stressed that the country’s gross domestic product was not affected in March, though this is set to change as of this month.

In April the budget foresees the collection of 4 billion euros from taxes (mainly value-added tax). This is a key month, the same official says, as it will be the first to feel the impact of the freeze in economic activity.

The postponement of the submission deadline for income tax declarations would deal the budget a temporary blow. The law says they must be uploaded by end-June, but all signs point to an extension by one or even two months.

Deputy Minister Thodoros Skylakakis said: “Conditions are not right for such activities. Accountants need to focus now on the problems Covid-19 is creating, and on all the new platforms. It is another question when a possible extension will be announced and how long it will be.”

The ministry has already suspended the adjustment process for the property rates used for tax purposes, known as “objective values.” It announced that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the delivery of surveyors’ recommendations and the operation of the database for the registering of their proposals have been suspended. Surveyors will be paid for the work conducted to date.