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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-06-28

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From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    The improvement of public finances is a one-way road and a prerequisite to achieve economic growth and prosperity for the citizens of Cyprus, Finance Minister Charilaos Stavrakis has stressed.

    In his statements after the meeting of the House Committee on Finance, on Monday, Stavrakis said that ``in this context we have submitted to the House of Representatives, a comprehensive package of economic measures consisting of five different proposals-bills namely 1% increase in corporation tax, real estate tax on 8000 big land owners, crack down on tax avoidance and evasion, urban planning amnesty and regulation of old urban planning abeyances.

    He said that today they had discussed the fifth bill-proposal concerning better targeting of social benefits.

    Stavrakis said that the issue of better targeting of social benefits was strongly sought by all political parties and most organized entities so that millionaires and their children and spouses as well as people with very high incomes do not enjoy social benefits which in the end of the day are paid by private citizen, the Cypriot taxpayer.

    ``So today, we have submitted this bill, which focuses on student sponsorship and child benefit. It will take effect by next year, 2011 and affects only about 8% of the total population that has the highest declared income,`` he added.

    He clarified that 92% of the population, the vast majority of the people of Cyprus, would continue to benefit from these benefits being either a child benefit or a student sponsorship or any other benefit offered by the Republic of Cyprus.

    In addition, Finance Minister said that the Republic of Cyprus has recently agreed with two local banks on a short-term loan for the amount of 500 million euro with interest rate below 1.5% in order to cover the loan that together with other European countries it has given to Greece, amounting to about 60 million and possibly other loans that might be necessary to give other eurozone countries, which could face some short-term and urgent problems.

    When you properly manage public debt, he added, the key is to pump liquidity from the market, where conditions are calm so that you can borrow at the best possible interest rates.


    Cyprus imposes the second lowest tax rate for individuals, and lower taxes on corporate profits among the euro area countries (E16), according to data published today by Eurostat the statistical office of the European Union. The maximum tax rate for individuals in Cyprus in 2010 is 30%, in Greece 45%, while the average in the eurozone is 42.4% and 37.5% in the EU27. In the euro area, Slovakia has the lowest rate for individuals with 19%. In the EU27, Bulgaria imposes the lowest taxes for individuals (10%) and Sweden the highest (56.4%). Regarding the tax on corporate profits in 2010, the rate in Cyprus is 10%, while the average in the eurozone is 25.7% and in the EU 23.2%. The highest statutory tax rates on 2010 corporate income in the EU27 are recorded in Malta (35.0%), France (34.4%) and Belgium (34.0%), and the lowest in Bulgaria and Cyprus (both 10.0%) and Ireland (12.5%).

    Between 2000 and 2010, the largest decreases were registered in Bulgaria (from 32.5% to 10.0%), Germany (from 51.6% to 29.8%), Cyprus (from 29.0% to 10.0%) and Greece (from 40.0% to 24.0%). Regarding the amount of total tax revenues (2008 figures), Cyprus total tax revenues amounted to 39.2% of GDP, while in the EU27 was 39.7% and 39.3% in the euro area. First in tax-revenue to GDP ratio was Denmark with 48.2%, followed by Sweden with 47.1%. Romania ranked last with 28% of GDP.

    Finally, the standard rate of VAT in Cyprus (15%) is the lowest in the EU in 2010, which has averaged at 20.2%. Between 2000 and 2010, the VAT rate remained unchanged in 13 Member States, rose in 12 and fell only in Slovakia (from 23.0% in 2000 to 19.0% in 2010) and the Czech Republic (from 22.0% to 20.0%). The highest increases were registered in Greece (from 18.0% to 23.0%) and Cyprus (from 10.0% to 15.0%).

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