Un­paid tax law changed

Lead­ers yield to troika pres­sure, amend new leg­is­la­tion grant­ing 100 in­stall­ments

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A law passed last month grant­ing debtors 72 to 100 in­stall­ments to pay off their out­stand­ing obli­ga­tions to the state is to be changed to re­duce its fis­cal im­pact and meet the de­mands of the troika, it emerged yes­ter­day.

The decision to change the law was taken at a meet­ing be­tween Prime Min­is­ter An­to­nis Sa­ma­ras and Deputy Premier Evan­ge­los Venizelos. It rep­re­sents a ma­jor climb-down for the gov­ern­ment. Even a few hours be­fore the decision was taken, the gen­eral sec­re­tary for rev­enues, Ka­te­rina Sav­vaidou, in­sisted that the law would stand as it had passed through Par­lia­ment last month.

How­ever, Ar­ti­cle 51 of the leg­is­la­tion will be changed so that any debts which are not over­due, which could in­clude the first in­stall­ments of the ENFIA prop­erty tax as well as in­come tax, will not be in­cluded in the pay­ment plan on of­fer to tax­pay­ers who are in ar­rears.

A few days ago the troika sup­plied the gov­ern­ment with a list of 19 ac­tions that it wants Athens to carry out in or­der to con­clude the re­view of the Greek pro­gram. One of the de­mands was for the law on debts to the state to be with­drawn. Greece’s lenders be­lieve that it could lead to as much as 1 bil­lion euros be­ing added to the fis­cal gap for next year. The gov­ern­ment hopes that the changes agreed yes­ter­day will be enough to ap­pease Greece’s cred­i­tors.

Fi­nance Min­istry sources said that the amend­ment would be sub­mit­ted to Par­lia­ment “within the next few days.”

Sa­ma­ras and Venizelos also agreed yes­ter­day to meet another of the troika’s de­mands, which is to re­duce non-wage costs in the pub­lic sec­tor, such as pay­ments for travel and mo­bile phone us­age.

Greece’s lenders have fur­ther de­manded that the gov­ern­ment re­move lim­i­ta­tions to pri­mary res­i­dence fore­clo­sures at the end of this year. Ten New Democ­racy MPs sub­mit­ted a pro­posal to Par­lia­ment for the mora­to­rium to be ex­tended, un­der­lin­ing the in­ter­nal re­sis­tance that the coali­tion will face on this is­sue.

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