Tax services set record number of foreclosures in 2013

According to government statistics 2013 has seen an explosion of foreclosures for debts towards the State, with the data showing that between January and September 2013 a total of 81,583 taxpayers had their bank accounts and assets seized by tax services, compared to just 48,589 in 2012.

The sharp increase of foreclosures has been attributed to the pressure of the Ministry of Finances on the tax collection services. The General Secretary of Public Revenue Haris Theoharis has threatened tax office supervisors with disciplinary sanctions and dismissal if they do not achieve their goals.

The foreclosure process is rather simple. The debtor is contacted at first in writing and if there is no response (ie no attempt to pay or settle the debt), the debt services relies on garnishee law, which is considered more “lucrative” than asset seizure.

The tax services can seize funds from all types of bank accounts, although accounts for the payment of wages and pensions are protected up to 1,000 euros. The tax services can also seize the payment of rent from a tenant, when the owner has accumulated debts and cannot be located.