Gov't moves unilaterally on tax easing
by Prokopis Hatzinikolaou & Sotiris Nikas, ekathimerini.com,
23 September 2014
Athens proceeds with measures to reduce burden on taxpayers, tabling motions before troika's arrival
Just a few days before the troika inspectors' arrival in Athens, the government is unilaterally moving ahead with
the first measures to ease taxation as announced by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at the Thessaloniki International
Fair earlier this month.
A bill concerning the reduction of the special consumption tax on heating oil was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday
in the first such move, which is to be followed next week by a draft foreseeing an increase in installments for
the payment of expired debts to the state and social security finds.
Later this fall the government will produce the first draft of the budget for 2015, which will go some way toward
explaining the plan for the gradual easing of taxes on Greeks.
The budget will provide for an extension to the solidarity levy by one more year (albeit reduced by 30 percent),
a gradual reduction in the single property tax (ENFIA), the abolition of the luxury tax on cars, a gradual stop
to calculating taxes based on taxpayers' assets, and a gradual reduction in the income tax paid by taxpayers and
Senior Finance Ministry officials say that the representatives of the country's creditors – the European Central
Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund – are yet to issued a response to requests analytically
presented to it by Athens some time ago. The tax-easing measures will be included in the first draft budget to
be tabled on October 6 and in this context the government wants to speed through the changes it wishes to introduce.
The troika will be updated about all this and government planning in general ahead of the inspectors' visit starting
on September 30 in a video conference on Wednesday with Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis. The conference will
also discuss the main topics of the upcoming monitoring and create a basic timetable for the next moves.
Ministry officials stress that this inspection will have specific time constraints, given that IMF officials have
notified Athens that they will leave Greece on October 8 for the Fund's annual meeting on October 10-12. The other
members of the troika are set to follow, while Hardouvelis is also likely to go to Washington too.