The Season Greeting the Greek Finance Ministry sent this year to dozens of officials in several departments were as bit peculiar. The ministry advice “More hugs for less heating oil consumption”, with reference to the heating oil allowance. The Ministry knew very well that despite the tax tsunami it had released as of August 2015, the revenue results were not the expected ones.
The tough fiscal measures imposed in the second half of 2015 led to negligible growth in state revenues last year, as households and taxpayers have exhausted their taxpaying capacity and expired debts to the state have soared to a staggering 84 billion euros.
Data from the Finance Ministry showed on Thursday that state revenues grew 39 million euros or 0.08 percent from 2014, although taxpayers were hit with nine tough measures that would normally have yielded significant takings. The 136 tax authorities and the country’s customs offices collected a total of 46.414 billion euros last year compared to 46.375 billion the year before.
Takings would have been even lower had the ministry adhered to the obligations foreseen in the budget regarding tax rebates, as it returned less than 449 million euros to taxpayers.
After the government agreed to creditors’ demands, it imposed the following measures, some of which were also retroactive for the whole of 2015:
* An increase in value-added tax rates in most food commodities, food service, taxi and public transport fares and many other products and services.
* An abolition of the 30 percent discount on the value-added tax rates on six popular Aegean islands.
* A solidarity levy hike for salary workers and pensioners with revenues of over 30,000 euros per annum.
* A 30 percent luxury tax increase for owners of vehicles over 2,500cc, swimming pools and aircraft, applying retroactively for the 2014 incomes.
* A luxury tax imposed on owners of recreational boats of more than 5 meters in length.
* The doubling of the tax deposit for farmers, from 27.5 percent to 55 percent.
* The increase in the tax deposit from 80 percent to 100 percent for enterprises.
* A 50 percent reduction in the return of the Special Consumption Tax on diesel for farmers, and
* A 50 percent reduction in the heating oil subsidy distributed to households fulfilling certain income criteria. (via ekathimerini)
As we say in my village: You can’t get blood from a stone.
BTW: the number of seniors wearing their coats at home because they can’t afford heating oil/natural gas must have increased dramatically this winter. In middle class residential areas. For a third winter in a row. Of course, there are no data available, but I hear more and more such stories from friends and social media followers.
source: hugs vs heating oil here