ATHENS - Buried under an avalanche of new taxes and tax hikes – with more coming – by the Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition which promised to cut them, Greeks work 198 days annually just to meet their dues to the state.
That was the revelation in a survey by the Markos Dragoumis Center for Liberal Studies (KEFIM) showing workers toil more than half a year just to pay those obligations, including salary workers, freelance professionals, pensioners, businesspeople and even the unemployed, through indirect taxation.
That means they won't see the benefits of their work until July 18 apart from tax evaders who are so rampant they've cheated the state out of hundreds of millions of euros and gotten away with it for decades.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, reneging on virtually on everything he said he'd do to help workers, pensioners and the poor, imposed new tariffs and raised others, including the hated ENFIA property tax surcharge he said he'd eliminate but increased.
That as at the orders of the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-ECB-ESM) to get a third bailout in the summer of 2015, this one for 86 billion euros ($100.44 billion) he said he would never seek nor accept but did both.
The report shows that Greeks will have to work an extra 22 days for the state this year compared to 2017 despite the quite optimistic budget forecast for an economic expansion of 2.5 percent in 2018, said Kathimerini in a review.
This year, on average, Greeks will work for 50 days to cover their direct taxes, 67 days for their indirect taxes and 81 days for their social security, according to the KEFIM report which also found that the government failed to meet its tax and social security contribution collection targets last year, but still projected a 4.9 percent rise in indirect taxes and social security contributions and a 1.6 percent increase from direct taxation.
The tax load on the Greeks is similar to that imposed on taxpayers in Germany and bigger than that on the Swedes, the Finns and the Italians.
But Greeks have the lowest level of satisfaction of what their taxes bring in services, according to a report by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This means that Greece is like a Northern European country in terms of tax and contributions, while as far as state services are concerned, it is a true Balkan state, the paper said.