The economic situation in Greece remains dire, and, according to Atlas Network partner Center for Liberal Studies (KEFiM), Greeks must work 198 days of the year just to pay their annual taxes. This finding comes from KEFiM’s recent Tax Freedom Day study, which it created to present the real economic conditions of Greece, support policy proposals to alleviate these issues, and fight economic illiteracy. Tax Freedom Day is the first day of the year that Greeks no longer have to work for the state but are free to choose how to spend their income. According to KEFiM, Greece’s Tax Freedom Day in 2018 fell on July 18.
“Tax evasion of citizens raises doubts about the government’s development goals and limits people’s ability to choose how they spend their income,” said Miranda Xafa, CEO of E.F. Consulting and a member of KEFiM’s academic board. “There is an urgent need to reduce taxes, limit the state expenses, and improve the quality of services provided to citizens through private concession contracts and subcontracting.”
The key findings of the survey include:
In 2018, taxpayers will work 12 more days for the state than in the last year.
In 2018, Greeks will work 50 days for direct taxes, 67 days for indirect taxes, and 81 days for social contributions.
The last day that Greeks work for the state comes later each year. In 2018, they will work 50 full days more for the state than they did in 2009.
The government did not achieve the tax collection goals set in the 2017 budget. The budget for 2018 provides a further increase of indirect taxes of 3.4 percent, of direct taxes by 1.6 percent, and of the net social contributions by 4 percent, which is 9 percent higher than the 2017 budget.
The tax burden in Greece is similar to that of Germany and greater than that of Sweden, Finland, and Italy. However, Greeks are not satisfied with the quality of the state’s health and education services. Moreover, the justice system is among the lowest of OECD member states.
The research used in the Tax Freedom Day study has already gotten considerable traction in the Greek media (link in Greek). The findings made 4 major newspaper headlines, were presented in 17 television programs (link in Greek) and 44 newspapers, used in 61 radio reports, received 1,222 mentions on social media (link in Greek), and published in 909 related online articles and blog posts. MPs of three different political parties also referenced KEFiM’s survey in the Greek Parliament.