Deal brings wave of tax hikes
Sectors from education to shipping will be affected by proposals as part of new bailout agreement
A barrage of new tax measures are contained in the new bill presented to Greece’s Parliament as a part of the country’s new memorandum. The bill concerns measures which are to be implemented immediately as well as those to be adopted by October 2015 and in the framework of the 2016 budget. Pending their vote in Parliament, the measures to be passed immediately include diesel fuel tax for farmers going from 66 euros per 1,000 liters to 200 euros/1,000 liters from October 1, 2015, and to 330 euros by October 1, 2016. Farmers’ income tax to be paid in advance will rise from 27.5 percent to 55 percent. Income tax for farmers is set to rise from 13 to 20 percent for 2016 and to 26 percent for 2017. Freelancers will be subject to a gradual increase from 55 to 75 percent in advanced tax payments for income earned in 2015, increasing to 100 percent in 2016. The 2 per- cent tax break for single payments on income tax is also being abolished from January 1, 2015. Private education, previously untaxed, will be taxed at 23 percent, including the tutoring schools (frontistiria) that most Greeks send their children to but excluding preschools. Reduced value-added tax rates for islands are to be abolished completely by the end of 2016, with enforcement staggered across three groups of islands from October 1, 2015 to January 1, 2017. Greece’s creditors are calling on the government to streamline and simplify the legislation for VAT, harmonizing it with the code of tax procedures, closing legal loopholes and reducing payment times by March 2016. The income tax system for small businesses below the VAT registration threshold must also be simplified and made consistent. Interest on expired debts to the state that are payable in 100 install-
1.1186 ments is to rise from 3 percent to 5 percent on amounts over 5,000 euros. Amounts below 5,000 euros are not subject to interest provided they meet certain conditions. Greece’s vital shipping industry will also be subject to new tax rises. Among other measures, tonnage tax is to increase by 4 percent annually between 2016 and 2020. A special contribution by foreign cargo carriers will remain in place until 2019.