Taxes high but revenues low

Although Greece has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the European Union and an average income tax rate, state revenues from direct taxation are still among the lowest in the 25-strong bloc, according to data released in Luxembourg yesterday. A report on taxation in the EU by Eurostat, the union’s official statistics service, showed that the average top statutory corporate tax rate in 2004 was 27.4 percent. In Greece, the corresponding figure was 35 percent. The EU average top income tax rate was 41.7 percent, compared to 40 percent in Greece. But direct taxation accounted for only 26.9 percent of the total tax burden in Greece in 2002 – the latest figures made available by Eurostat. The bulk of the burden was covered by indirect taxes (40.5 percent), while social security contributions provided 32.5 percent. Total tax revenue amounted to 36.2 percent of GDP in Greece in 2002, when the EU average was 40.4 percent. Sweden topped the list, at 50.6 percent.