June revenues beat target
Government revenues in June appear on track to beat targets, raising optimism that the Finance Ministry will meet this year’s budget goal and abide by European Commission rules for the first time. Finance Ministry sources said yesterday that revenues this June rose 10 percent compared to same period a year ago, beating the 6.5 percent annual target. Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis has said Greece will manage to cut its budget deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product this year for the first time since it joined the eurozone in 2002. Value-added tax (VAT) revenue in June increased 25 percent on a yearly basis after electronic checks by the Finance Ministry found that 5,000 large companies in the first quarter of the year had not submitted a VAT declaration. Orders to crack down on tax dodgers appear to be producing the right results. Revenues from the customs office this month are proving to be solid, a source said. An increase in the special consumption tax on fuel, applicable as of next month, will help support revenues for the rest of the year. According to initial estimates, the higher tax, which was increased to be in line with other EU states, will earn the government an additional 115 million euros this year. In order to maintain healthy revenue growth for the remainder of 2006, the ministry decided earlier this month to increase the number of audits on businesses. Finance Ministry teams have been conducting spot checks on businesses across the country on weekends and afternoons.