800 people were supported in 2020 by the Accounting Service at the Athens Solidarity Center

Moe Hashemi

The period of the tax statements’ submission has started at the Solidarity Center, for everyone!

Preparing and submitting the annual tax declaration is not a simple matter for all people. This happens because they are not aware of the submission process but mainly because they are uninformed that from the fulfilment of this obligation derive many rights strongly linked to improving daily life; both for themselves and their families. In order to respond to the above described need, the Accounting Service operating -among other services- in the SolidarityNow Athens Solidarity Center actively supported more than 800 of our fellow citizens to claim a better quality of life from the beginning of 2020.

SolidarityNow’ s Solidarity Center in Athens (ASC) responds, through its free services, to every social need in an immediate and effective way. The main goal always remains to support and facilitate the most vulnerable population groups. This happened during the recent health crisis when we adjusted our activities due to the unprecedented conditions and this is happening now that the Solidarity Center is operating again with the physical presence of its workers and beneficiaries.

Accounting & Counseling service

We are going through the period of submitting tax declarations. For a significant percentage of people – Greeks and non-Greeks alike, filling a tax statement is a prerequisite for receiving benefits, insurance/security numbers and supporting documents, as well as other social benefits that are often the only income for them and their only ability not to be “invisible” citizens, but to claim their rights.

The Accounting & Counseling Service, which operates at the Athens Solidarity Center since April 2018, covers pro bono the needs of many of our fellow human beings, providing:

  • Counseling and guidance for municipal benefits, social benefits, debt settlements and
  • Accounting and tax support for individuals.

January – June 2020

From the beginning of 2020 until today (first semester), 800 people have benefited from the Accounting & Consulting Service, with 1 in 5 being Greek-speaking, 1 in 4 being Farsi-speaking and 1 in 3 being Arabic-speaking. In the framework of the Service’s operation and through its specialized staff, the following are offered: issuance and renewal of unemployment card, renewal of free card for the people with disabilities in public transport, issuance of VAT, debt settlement regulations, request for social electricity tariff, request and activation of personal code number (kleidarithmos), statements for accounts’ unseizability, application for benefits.

“It’s not just a tax statement or an application for a benefit. In our contact with the beneficiaries, and in order to offer them what they need, we learn about their lives. We are faced with so many different problems, so many different lives. Our first concern is to be close to the most vulnerable. Due to the pandemic, as soon as we returned back to the Solidarity Center, we called our elderly beneficiaries to let them know that we are here, close to them, and ready to welcome them again and help them be consistent with their obligations. Respectively, we informed, through the social media and in various languages, the beneficiaries who do not speak Greek. I feel that I offer a lot by practically supporting people who are most in need“, says Stelios Tsavalas, Head of the Accounting & Consulting Service.

Learn more about the Athens Solidarity Center and its free services at https://www.solidaritynow.org/kentro-allileggiis-athinas/.

**The Athens Solidarity Center is financed by EEA and Norway Grants, with HumanRights360 and CROWE Greece as the fund operator. The Center is also supported by the Municipality of Athens.