Multi-bill to be tweaked
Minister hints tax on rental income to be scrapped; rate hikes might be put off
Just a day after the submission in Parliament of a multi-bill of prior actions demanded by creditors, government officials backtracked yesterday on one of the most contentious proposals, suggesting that a plan to increase tax on the rental income of property owners would be changed.
Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis indicated that a provision stipulating that property owners be obliged to pay tax even on rent payments that they have not collected would be scrapped. The measure had prompted complaints from homowners and SYRIZA MPs.
In addition, it appears that plans to increase the tax on rental income by 2 percentage points would be suspended, so the rates of 11 percent for annual rental income under 12,000 euros and 33 percent for annual rental income above 12,000 euros would remain in place, rather than the higher rates of 15 and 35 percent respectively that are set out in the multi-bill.
According to Alexiadis, the question of tax on rent is currently being discussed by Greek officials and members of the creditors’ technical teams in Athens. Sources indicated that new rates will be included in a tax bill to be tabled in Parliament next month which is expected to shift the burden to Greeks with larger properties and higher incomes.
Yesterday, the first day the bill was dis- cussed at the committee level, leftist SYRIZA sought to defend the measures, saying that some were harsh but unavoidable. New Democracy and PASOK, which shared power before SYRIZA came to power, condemned the new austerity measures, as did centrist Potami.
“We are not happy about it, but we are forced to bring these provisions,” Alexiadis said.
ND’s rapporteur Nikos Panayiotopoulos slammed the bill as recessionary, “loading new tax burdens on already overtaxed citizens.” He said, however, that ND would support provisions foreseeing a harsher crackdown on tax evasion.