New aus­ter­ity mea­sures com­ing

Fi­nance Min­istry’s lat­est plans to boost rev­enues in­clude in­creas­ing levies for prop­erty own­ers

Kathimerini English - - Business & Finance -

In­creased taxes on prop­erty own­ers with as­sets worth more than 400,000 eu­ros, a re­duc­tion in al­lowances paid to pub­lic ser­vants and a levy on soft drinks are among the op­tions the Fi­nance Min­istry is look­ing into as a means of sav­ing 26 bil­lion eu­ros un­til 2015.

With rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund hav­ing left Athens for a short pe­riod, the min­istry is look­ing for ways to find 6 bil­lion eu­ros’ worth of sav­ings or rev­enues for the year in a bid to con­vince in­vestors that Greece is on track to re­duc­ing its deficit by 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, the gov­ern­ment is look­ing at low­er­ing the tax-free thresh­old for prop­erty own­ers. Cur­rently, only those with as­sets worth more 400,000 eu­ros are hit with a prop­erty levy, how­ever, the min­istry is look­ing into drop­ping this cut-off mark to 300,000 eu­ros.

If im­ple­mented, the mea­sure will ap­ply from 2010, which means that prop­erty own­ers will have to pay back­dated taxes as of Jan­uary last year.

The gov­ern­ment is also con­sid­er­ing in­creas­ing a tax paid on large prop­erty port­fo­lios, which means as­sets worth more 400,000 eu­ros, a source added.

Gov­ern­ment data show that about 150,000 tax­pay­ers in the coun­try own as­sets worth more than 400,000 eu­ros.

Other op­tions the rul­ing So­cial­ists are look­ing into in an ef­fort to bump up rev­enues is through the in­tro­duc­tion of levies on nat­u­ral gas and soft drinks, as of the start of next year.

With the coun­try in its third year of re­ces­sion and con­sump­tion and in­vest­ment ac­tiv­ity fall­ing, Greece is strug­gling to bring in rev­enues, which fell short of an­nual tar­gets early in the year.

Gov­ern­ment fig­ures for the first four months of 2011 show that net or­di­nary bud­get rev­enue to­taled 14.46 bil­lion eu­ros, down 9.2 per­cent year-on-year, com­pared with a Jan­uary-April tar­get of 16.34 bil­lion eu­ros.

Other planned rev­enue-rais­ers the gov­ern­ment is eyeing is up­ping sev­eral goods from the lower 13 per­cent value-added tax group to the higher 23 per­cent group.

The re­duc­tion of tax breaks for first-home buy­ers is also be­ing ex­am­ined, the source added.

The min­istry is ex­pected to un­veil its medium-term 2011-15 strat­egy aimed at help­ing re­store the coun­try’s fis­cal health in the next few days.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Greece

© PressReader. All rights reserved.