More than 30,000 drivers who didn’t pay road tax passes that had been hit with big increases are being chased by Greek government officials who have identified them and said the offenders will have pay fines.
The Finance Ministry’s General Secretariat for Information Systems said the number of violators is far smaller than in previous years when Greeks, who routinely drive without insurance, also wouldn’t pay their road circulation passes.
In past years, there had been an average of 100,000 offenders who took their chances that they wouldn’t be stopped by police. For many vehicles, the tax has been nearly doubled and depends on the year, make and model of the car or truck. People who have moderate-sized cars that are five or six years old now have to pay about 240 euros a year, or about $320 a year for the right to drive.
Authorities said that over the coming days, the 30,000 or so motorists who failed to pay their road tax this year will be summoned to their local tax offices where they must pay double the rate of their original road tax as a penalty. In the case of cars with engines over 4,000 cc, the fine reaches 2,640 euros, or $3,528 – plus the same amount for the original tax they didn’t pay, which could push the cost to more than $7,000 for the tax and fine.
Besides outright scofflaws, there are many Greeks who said they can’t afford to pay the big tax increase to have a vehicle on the road because of big pay cuts and slashed pensions imposed by the government on the order of international lenders. Scores of thousands of people have reportedly turned into their license plates and taken their cars off the road because they can’t afford to drive them, especially with big hikes in gas taxes as well.
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