REPORT ON THE OBSERVANCE OF STANDARDS AND CODES (ROSC)
Prepared by staff from EU1 on the basis of information provided by the Greek authorities
February 1, 2001
This note provides a factual report on developments since the preparation of "Fiscal Transparency: An Experimental Report."1 2 For a full description of institutions and practices, it should be read in conjunction with the original report.
1. The government has resumed publishing a tax expenditure budget, which is to be submitted to parliament by the end of the year. It provides for each tax expenditure: a summary description; its legal foundation; an enumeration of those entitled to it; requirements for eligibility; its duration; and its budgetary cost (when possible).
2. The government has included in the annual budget a report on the operations and proposed plans of DEKA.3 This includes data on revenues and expenditures for the last three years, and a list of the shares that DEKA owns.
3. The government has also included in the annual budget for the last two years a list of shares that it owns. For those shares that are listed on the Athens stock exchange, it includes the number of shares owned and the percentage of the capital owned, while for those companies that are not listed on the stock exchange, the nominal value of the share-capital is included as well as the ownership share.
4. The government has limited the scope and improved the transparency and monitoring of the operations of extrabudgetary funds. Extrabudgetary funds are operated by some ministries, servicing specific tasks. Their revenues derive mainly from nonbudgetary sources. Under the provisions of a recently adopted law (2771/99), the government has: incorporated into the budget the activities of those funds whose activities were similar to those of the state budget; abolished inactive accounts and transferred to the state the balances of inactive funds; and subjected the remaining funds to fiscal audits. The funds' administrators are obliged to compile the funds' annual budgets and their outcomes according to instructions issued by the Ministry of Finance's Government Accounting Office (GAO), and to submit them to the GAO for examination. The GAO publishes data on revenues and expenses of the extrabudgetary funds in the annual budget.
5. The government has increased the scope of information available electronically. Specifically, information is available regarding tax issues (including tax declarations, laws and instructions concerning tax obligations, the declaration of taxable income, and answers to frequently asked questions). The Ministry of Finance now provides for the electronic submission of tax declarations. Information is also provided regarding, among other things, the public debt, the implementation of the budget, and civil service salary scales and pensions. The Ministry also issues leaflets on several issues, including information on the pension system and the pensioners' rights, and on the tax authority office (TAXIS).
1This Update was prepared by Mark Lutz.
2The original report was issued as Chapter IV of SM/99/255 (10/6/99) and is available on the IMF website at http://www.imf.org/external/np/rosc/rosc.asp (http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/1999/cr99138.
3DEKA S.A. is an enterprise wholly owned by the government that was set up to handle the proceeds of privatized assets and retire outstanding government debt.