Annual tax 'safari' begins in Greece to meet bailout-mandated primary budget surplus

Tuesday, 26 March 2019 13:54
UPD:13:57
ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ/ΟΡΕΣΤΗΣ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΩΤΟΥ
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By G. Kouros
gkouros@naftemporiki.gr

Greece's independent public assets authority - itself a memorandum-mandated institution to succeed the previous and often politicized tax bureau - must ramp up collection of this year's due taxes as well as arrears inherited from previous years.

Greece must post a primary budget surplus of 3.5 percent of GDP in 2019, as per revised fiscal targets emanating from the third bailout signed by the Tsipras government in 2015.

Nearly 40 percent of the country's residents (4.1 million taxpayers) currently owe a whopping 104 billion euros in arrears to the Greek state, with the Commission's target being 5.5 billion euros of the arrears to be cleared by the tax bureau.

A large chunk of the 104 billion euros nevertheless dates back decades, owed by companies no longer in existence, bankrupt entities and taxpayers no longer economically active or even alive.

Conversely, some 64.5 percent of the 4.1 million taxpayers with even one euro in arrears to the state face confiscation measures, mostly deductions from bank deposits they have and withheld income from monthly salaries.

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