Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How To Spend 3 Hours at a Greek Tax Office

An elderly man died in Thessaloniki on Tuesday after collapsing at a bank while waiting in line to pay the ENFIA property tax, reports the Ekathimerini. Which reminds me of the story which my neighbor Yiannis told me yesterday.

Yiannis had to go to the tax office to get a certificate that all his taxes were paid up. There were a total of 5 stops, he said. First, he had to go to employee 1 who handled the hard facts. She checked that all the information Yiannis provided was correct and then she wrote her ok in handwriting. With that provisional piece of paper, Yiannis had to go to the Director on the first floor. The Director checked the handwriting of employee 1 and the information and gave his stamp of approval. That, however, was not the end of it because there was not yet a final document. Instead, it only authorized Yiannis to go back downstairs to employee 2 who would check the signature and stamp of the Director in order to issue the final document. However, the final document now required the signature of the Director, so Yiannis went back to the first floor. And after he got the signature of the Director, he had to take the final document back to employee 2 who would then add a second stamp. And that was it.

All told, it took him 3 hours, Yiannis said.


  1. This won't change anytime soon, because the use of internet isn't widespread to older ages and this includes internet banking of course (you can pay ENFIA without ever setting foot in bank). To be honest, the elderly that died, was victim of the bad habbit to go pay the last day (since we spoke of way of life).

    As for tax certificates, again, nowdays, the "normal" payment certificates you can get from taxisnet, but most elder people don't know how to get into taxisnet and download them.

    1. Since Yiannis is 5 years younger than I, I won't call him elderly... I had asked him about the internet and he said this was not possible. Will pass your info on to him.

    2. I didn't know anything about his age, so i didn't imply anything about yours either. Besides, knowledge doesn't necessarily correlate with age. But, in Greece, unfortunately, the frequency of use of internet declines rapidly with ages over 50 years old.

      Now, maybe Yiannis needed some particular certificate that Taxis doesn't give. But for the "regular" payments, you can get everything from Taxis, provided you have the secret access code to your account of course. An alternative to avoid all this "hi technology" trouble, is to leave everything in the hands of an accountant. But i always double check things myself. For instance, the certificate that you paid your income taxes, as well as the certificate for the payment of ENFIA, are both available at Taxis net. Eventually, the visit to the tax office should be limited to only to very complicated cases, but this will take a while longer to do, i suppose.

  2. And this is a confirmation of what i wrote above. It's a "survival guide" for ENFIA. Amongst other things:

    1) Unless you have absolute necessity, avoid going visiting the tax offices these 2 days (Monday and Tuesday).

    2) The statistical data of the ministry show that only a 15% of the tax payers selects to pay through the internet. If you do have internet access, do so, as to avoid a big trouble with a process that takes a few minutes.


    For the history, Tuesday (today), was the last day to pay (expiration). It is a classic, for Greeks to pay in the last day, cram the banks/offices and then the goverment is forced to give an extension. Usually, this gets repeated during the extensions dates.

    I am part of the 15% cited above and i have the very unlikely for a greek habbit, to pay everything in the first 2 days, not in the last 2 days, like the majority of Greeks...

    Now the office of the public attorney said they opened an investigation for possible responsibilities of the death of the 70 year old man at the bank. Like if it serves something. The man actually fainted while satting down. He had waited for 1 1/2 hours already.


    Next time there is a payment, the same story will happen. 90% of Greeks will storm the banks in the last 2 days. It's a miracle that there isn't a dead every time there is a tax payment.

  3. The story in Ekathimerini is most peculiar; I find it rather irrelevant that a 70 year old man die while waiting to pay his taxes. I don't see the significance of any of the facts, 70 year old men do die, and they also pay taxes. In fact death and taxes are the only things you can be sure of in the world I live in.
    But, by all means, make an investigation, the prosecutor may find that the Troika was responsible.

  4. You can get *some* certificates from taxis net, but not all. Greece is still a bureaucratic hellhole.