ATHENS – Greek debtors to the state are lining up to take advantage of an installment plan and more than 71,000 will pump 771 million euros into state coffers.
The country’s international lenders nixed an extension of the plan so people who owe previous taxes and other debts to the government have entered into the plan to avoid fines and penalties.
The Finance Ministry said that 43,000 debtors have made the first payment, bringing in 11 million euros that otherwise likely would have been lost because they couldn’t make a lump sum payment after being hit with harsh austerity measures that made many walk away.
The scheme allows repayments in up to 100 installments but with 95 percent of outstanding debts under 5,000 euros, some 65 percent are choosing to pay over 12 months, bringing in sorely needed revenues faster than anticipated.
Finance officials said that plan would at least neutralize expected losses or bring in more monies that would have been unpaid if people hadnt been granted a way to pay.
The second most-popular choice is 24 installments with only a few choosing more than 60 months to repay as Greeks want to get out from under their debts as soon as possible, except for tax cheats who aren’t paying.
There are some 21,000 debtors who have transferred from the so-called last-chance settlement that was previously introduced to this new repayment system.
Ministry figures show that expired debts to the state increased by 1.22 billion euros in October, to reach 71.5 billion euros, of which 10.9 billion date from the first 10 months of this year, mostly because people simply couldn’t pay even though they wanted to.
Ministry officials estimate that from late December up to mid-January there will be more applications coming in, as many debtors who are employed in the private sector will receive their Christmas bonus, amounting to a month’s salary although it has been eliminated for public sector workers and pensioners. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2015.