Reports: Govt readies 120-mo. installment plan for arrears to tax bureau; creditors express reservations

Monday, 22 April 2019 13:02
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By G. Kouros

The new deadline for tabling, in Parliament, a long-expected draft bill allowing taxpayers and business cover arrears to the tax bureau with a 120-month installment plan is early May, and especially before the scheduled European Parliament election.

The relief measure was not included in a similar draft bill for covering arrears to social insurances funds, with European creditors closely scrutinizing the draft legislation and the government's intent.

The poll-trailing Tsipras government is desperately trying to implement as many taxpayer-friendly relief measures as possible, ahead of no less than three elections: local government, European Parliament, and, general elections by at least October 2019.

According to the latest reports, a minimum monthly installment payment of between 20 and 50 euros will be burdened with a 5 percent interest rate, whereas a full and one-time payment of arrears will eliminate all previous fines and late interest rate burdens. No interest will be tacked on to arrears of up to 5,000 euros, the same reports state.

Creditors reportedly continue to insist on strict income and asset criteria for individuals and businesses seeking eligibility under the plan. Conversely, the Greek side wants to avoid asset criteria, which would disqualify thousands of taxpayers with arrears to the tax bureau.

At last count, arrears towards the Greek state exceed 104 billion euros at the end of 2018, corresponding to more than four million taxpayers, although a "lion's share" of the arrears correspond to companies, legal entities and individuals no longer economically active, simply non-existent or even no long alive.

If fines and compound interest is included, then this massive amount of arrears exceeds 190 billion euros.

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