ATHENS — Greeks had to work 179 out of 365 days in the last year, up from 174 the previous year, in order to pay their taxes and social insurance contributions, according to a study by the Liberal Studies Centre Markos Dragoumis unveiled on Wednesday.
The study, the seventh of its kind, said the day of 'tax freedom' – after which any income earned by tax-payers from all sources fully belongs to them – arrived on June 29. If the public deficit is also factored in, then the day of tax freedom is delayed until August 10, or 221 days of work.
For 2021, the total tax and social insurance burden on households and businesses will be 71.9 billion euros and is almost double the 44 billion euros that households pay to cover their basic expenses for food, clothing, housing, household goods, transport and communication.
"In 2021 we will have to work for 75 days to pay indirect taxes, 60 days to pay social insurance contributions, 43 days to pay direct taxes and one day to pay taxes on capital," said the research programme coordinator Konstantinos Saravakos.
During 2020, by contrast, Greeks had to work 175 days for the state and, if the general government deficit was also factored in, Tax Freedom Day came 42 days later, on August 6. This followed a pattern over the last 20 years that saw 47 days added to the period before 'Tax Freedom Day'. According to figures given in the study, the number of days Greeks work for the state increased from 139 in 1999 to 174 in 2012 and peaked at 186 in 2018.
According to the centre's president Alexandros Skouras, the data indicates a sharp increase of the tax burden on households and businesses during the debt crisis years but also a containment of this trend in the last two years. Factoring deficits into the calculation, which was introduced for the first time this year, also indicates that the emergency spending triggered by the pandemic must be taken into account when shaping economic policy in coming years.