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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-05-26

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Greece's high tax rates not reflected in revenues, PwC report shows
  • [02] 'Strong indications' that Aristotle's tomb has been found, says Greek archaeologist

  • [01] Greece's high tax rates not reflected in revenues, PwC report shows

    Greece's tax system has very high taxation rates that fail to bring in proportionately high revenues, even though the "tax behaviour" of its citizens is not significantly different from that of other Europeans, according to a PwC tax summary for May 2016 released on Thursday.

    According to the report, tax revenues in Greece fell steadily in absolute terms over time, though rising as a percentage of the country's GDP, indicating an inability to collect additional taxes in conditions of extended crisis. By the same token, constant changes to taxation parameters and rates appears to have no impact on tax collection levels, the report said.

    It advised that the tax system be radically redesigned so that it does not create "economic distortions" and noted that growth will make a major contribution to increasing public revenues, with a 10 pct increase in GDP leading to an estimated 11.3 pct increase in tax revenues.

    More specifically, it noted that taxation rates were among the highest in all categories but revenue collection was less than or close to average. During the economic crisis, the contribution made by VAT and other indirect taxes remained steady while the contribution of income tax from legal entities and companies collapsed from 15 pct to just 6 pct and there was a higher contribution from direct taxes on individuals and real estate.

    According to PwC data, the proportion of revenues contributed by indirect taxation was among the highest in Europe at 57 pct, while 94 pct of tax revenues in Greece came from indirect taxes, income taxes on individuals and real estate. With the exception of indirect taxation and real estate taxation, there are no signs of overtaxation in Greece when compared to other countries.

    The report noted a sharp rise in taxes on real estate in Greece over the last five years, increasing revenues by 2.5-3.0 billion euros. This led to a fall in house prices and deinvestment from the market, the report said.

    According to PwC, Greece's taxation system is parameterised in a way that does not facilitate tax collection, punishing middle incomes and increasing undeclared incomes. There is an estimated 34 pct deficit in VAT revenue in Greece, indicating significant loss of revenue as a result of tax evasion, tax avoidance and ineffective tax collection mechanisms.

    It also notes that revenues from VAT and other indirect taxation, unilke income tax and real estate taxes, are not especially sensitive to changes in GDP.

    The head of PwC Greece's taxation department Mary Psylla said: "It is necessary to intervene in the taxation system. Its performance is generally less than the European average and its distortions make it harder to increase tax collection. Its complexity combined with the ineffectiveness of tax-collection mechanisms are obstacles to both fiscal improvement and growth."

    [02] 'Strong indications' that Aristotle's tomb has been found, says Greek archaeologist

    There are strong indications that a peculiar ancient tomb found in the area of Stagira, in central Macedonia, is the tomb of the Greek philosopher Aristotle, archaeologist Kostas Sismanidis said on Thursday, during an international conference on the famous philosopher in Thessaloniki.

    Addressing the "Aristotle World Congress", Sismanidis, whose team has spent 20 years digging in the area, said the horseshoe-shaped domed building unearthed in the middle of the south side of the Stagira hill was just a few dozen meters from the agora arcade. The tomb had a tiled roof made at the royal pottery workshop, affirming its public function. A two-meter-wide raised, processional, built road lead to the monument entrance that was accessible to people offering bids.

    Artefacts, pottery and more than fifty coins found in the area date the tomb and the altar at the times of Alexander the Great. The top of the dome is 10 meters high and there is a rectangular marble floor surrounding a Byzantine tower.

    Sismanidis cited two literary sources that in his view indicate the people of Stagira may have transferred his remains from Evia, where he died in 322 BC, to his birthplace. The manuscripts he referred to are from The Marciana Library and an Arabic biography of Aristotle from the second half of the 11 century BC.

    According to the latter, "when Aristotle died, the people of Stagira sent and brought back his ashes to their home, placed it in a copper urn and then deposited this urn in a location called 'Aristotelion'. Every time they had important issues and wanted to resolve difficult problems, they convened their assembly in this place."

    "Based, therefore, on the above written sources, we believe that we cannot challenge the information they give us concerning the transport and burial of Aristotle's remains in the city of Stagira, on the establishment of an altar at the tomb of the philosopher, on the posthumous honours and on the establishment of the annual 'Aristotelian' celebration," Sismanidis said.

    "We believe, but without having proof, just strong indications, that all evidence contribute to this version," he added.

    The conference was organized by the University of Thessaloniki. Aristotle, considered as one of the most important philosophers, was a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great.


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