As the annual deadline for paying Greek road tax looms on Dec. 31, record numbers are forced to hand in their car registration plates to the tax office as they are unable to afford the tax.
To Vima reported that since mid-December 70,000 car registration plates have been handed over to the tax authorities, a rise of 15 percent over last year. Austerity has forced many car owners to relinquish their vehicles, which become illegal if the annual road tax is not paid by December 31.
The tax can of course be paid late but car owners that fail to adhere to the annual deadline must pay double tax in January. According to Proto Thema many people have asked for an extension to pay their road tax but treasury secretary Haris Theocharis has said that if an extension is considered, and no decision has yet been reached, it will not be announced until December 31.
As only 60 percent of vehicle owners had paid the tax by December 27 there are huge queues reported both at banks, where the tax can be paid, and at tax offices where the registration plates are deposited.
This time last year many people were offering their vehicles to other people when they could no longer find the money to pay the road tax. However their generous gestures were often rejected due to the costs involved in the new owner having to pay to transfer the car registration to their name, pay the road tax and ensure insurance was purchased.
The inevitable consequence of harsh austerity measures that have left so many people unable to pay their road tax, is a reduction in tax revenue to the government. Excessive taxes on both petrol and central heating oil have resulted in the same scenario of reduced tax receipts as fuel becomes unaffordable.