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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-06-04

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Proposed tax measures announced by gov't

  • [01] Proposed tax measures announced by gov't

    (ANA-MPA) -- The Greek government's eagerly awaited batch of new economic measures, following drawn out negotiations over the past few weeks with the EC-ECB-IMF "troika", include an extraordinary real estate tax on larger property holdings, the finance ministry announced on Saturday.

    The latest austerity measures and a renewed commitment by Athens to meet privatisation, labour market and wider public sector restructuring goals come in the wake of Friday's successful conclusion of talks with the troika representatives -- a development that opens the way for the fifth installment of a 110-billion-euro bailout for the country.

    Other measures to plug the gap in projected revenues for 2011 include higher taxes for annual vehicle registrations, higher taxes on boats and luxury cars, a new consumer tax on soft drinks and a bigger surcharge on natural gas consumers, as well as the ubiquitous tax hike on cigarettes.

    Tax measures eyed for 2012 but not yet finalised include a reduction in the tax-free ceiling for individual property holdings, which today stands at an objective rate of 400,000 euros.

    Other options considered, according to reports, include the raising of the lowest VAT rate of 6.5 percent for items such as pharmaceuticals, books, newspapers and other periodicals, with the medium 13 percent rate eyed.

    Another possibility that is still in the draft stage is a reduction in the tax-free bracket for low-income earners, excluding pensioners, who would still pay no income tax if reporting less than 12,000 euros in income annually. Another option is to institute different tax co-efficients for wage-earners and so-called self-employed professionals, assuming that this measure does not face a constitutional challenge.

    On a brighter note, a reduction in the corporate tax rate is being considered, which today stands at 20 percent.

    Finally, other options being studied by the ministry include a process to legalise so-called unlicensed residences in the country -- a scourge in many parts of Greece that lie outside town planning districts -- via payments, as well as eliminating the subsidisation of heating oil so that diesel fuel is priced in a unified manner. (ANA-MPA)

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