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“Till tax office do us apart”: Greeks see in divorce a way to avoid assets seizures, get access to social benefits

More and more Greek couples see in divorce a solution to escape property confiscation and bank accounts seizures, but also a way to get access to tax discounts and social benefits. The change of marital status affects also their social status that protects them from the long arm of the tax office.

Over-taxation and dramatic reduction of income have led to a new Greek reality: a sharp increase in divorces. More and more couples proceed with “virtual divorce” or separation in order to escape the tax office and the banks, to get a 50%counts in property tax and electricity and to receive social benefits.  This is the new Greek reality that emerged due to the economic crisis.

According to newspaper TA NEA, divorces have recorded an increase of more than 20 percent compared to the years before the crisis, with more and more couples to declare that they live in separation.

According to Ta NEA report, spouses submit separate tax declarations after the divorce. As it is usually the wife who takes custody of the children, she declares to tax authorities she has two minors in protection, and low or even zero income.

With low income, she gets access to social benefits, possibly also the the Minimum Guaranteed Income, she can joint the electricity discount for vulnerable society groups and also receive discount in property tax (ENFIA).

The newspaper adds that a divorce protects also from property confiscation due to debts as well as from seizures form the tax authorities. Simply because of the change in marital and therefore in social status.

“The virtual divorce is for many the solution to escape property confiscations; in case the couple has one main residence and one summer house, each property becomes main residence for each spouse.”

A divorce or even a separation may prove to be an advantageous solution for many reasons such as:

  • Protection of residence from auction
  • Family allowances
  • Discount in property tax
  • Heating benefit
  • Protection from seizures and confiscations

The divorce provides great protection from seizures for those with debts to the state.

Although bank account seizures are imposed to debtor’s tax number, it often happens that the spouse is affected too when the couple has joint bank accounts. A bank account can be ‘frozen’ due to big debts to tax office and the insurance funds.

The newspaper adds that the “virtual divorces” are common in case of businesses at the edge of bankruptcy, with large debts to tax authorities and the social security funds. A divorce enables the second member of the couple to escape from the blocking of the bank acocunt and thus to be able to receive a tax clearance.

PS it has been clear for quite some time that longstanding austerity affects all fields of life and “reforms” also the Greek family tradition. When young people 20-35 years old earn just enough to bring food on the table, I do not see many eager to establish their own family any time soon.

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One comment

  1. Not only that, many people aren’t even getting married anymore in GR!

    And yes absolutely, joint accounts are a thing of the past in GR!

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