Seizures of liquid resources, receipts from third parties and property are the new measures tax authorities have begun applying in order to fill in the revenue gap under the Memorandum of financial assistance. From this week on, taxpayers who have delayed payments of over three thousand euro are threatened by sudden seizures and those who owe the tax authorities more than five thousand euro may fall under the blows of criminal law.
The decision for the new tough measures became known after a Ministerial Decree had been issued, which enacted the new tough rules. The Ministry of Finance explained that under the Memorandum of financial assistance, the government must raise two billion euro of overdue payments in 2012. This means that by the end of June, which is in only 16 days' time, tax authorities must have collected one billion euro of overdue payments.
The deadline for negotiating deferred repayment of taxpayers’ obligations to the state expires on Monday. This is the last chance for troubled citizens to reduce the instalment of their obligations without risking falling under the blows of seizure or detention. According to the Ministerial Decree, from next week, tax authorities should have a detailed and current description of the movable and immovable property of citizens with outstanding taxes.
In many cases of unpaid tax liabilities by firms, the problem is due to the state. The state had almost frozen VAT refunding in the last two years, which has further impeded the business. In addition to reduced turnover, increased taxes, lack of bank credits and the rise in the price of main products, Greek business was deprived of VAT refunding for the permanent deficit in the state budget. In cases where companies owe unpaid taxes and have unreturned VAT, tax authorities will deduct both the amounts.
Meanwhile, the National Statistical Service has announced that unemployment in March 2012 reached 21.9% from 15.7% during the same period last year. At present, no special order has been issued to specify how to deal with indebted citizens who have not paid their taxes but are unemployed. The highest unemployment rate is among young people aged up to 25 years. Of them, 53% remained outside the labour market in March this year, which is 11% higher than March last year. In the 25-34 age group, the number of unemployed has also increased and from 22% in 2011 it reached 30%. Unemployment among women has also recorded a sharp increase and reached 26% in March 2012 compared with 19% during the same month of 2011.
The National Statistical Service has presented data on the car market, which has been recording a drastic decline each year. For the first quarter of this year, new cars fell by 44% compared with the same period last year. Unlike previous years, the sale of small motorcycles has "gone down the slope”, 22% fewer motorcycles were sold between January and April compared with the first three months of 2011.