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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-03-04

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Finmin repeats pledge to reduce income tax

  • [01] Finmin repeats pledge to reduce income tax

    Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis has repeated his pledge to reduce tax by raising the exemption ceiling and lowering brackets from 2007 in a move to help people with less income.

    Tax-exempt income is to rise to 12,000 euros per annum from 11,000 euros, and the two main tax brackets will fall from next year, Alogoskoufis said in an interview to the Ta Nea daily newspaper published on Saturday.

    The two key brackets currently at 30% and 40% will drop to 29% and 39% in 2007, to reach 25% and 35% in 2009 under a phased decline, the minister said.

    He also reported a plan to widen the tax scale in which the main bracket, which currently groups incomes of 13,000 euros to 23,000 euros, will have a floor of 30,000 euros or more that will gradually rise to 50,000 euros in either a single move or in phases, depending on fiscal finances.

    Turning to tax evasion, Alogoskoufis said the government's campaign was a process that would take time.

    Aiding the drive were the use of sophisticated technology, which increased the scope of cross-checks.

    Turning to reform of the country's social insurance system, the minister noted that preparatory discussions had been held, and concrete initiatives were needed.

    The overhaul had two angles: on the macroeconomic side were future shortfalls in pension funds, bringing debt; and on the social side, injustice in the current arrangement.

    Finally, Alogoskoufis denied that the government's economic policy was neo-liberal, instead terming it moderate under present circumstances, including tight fiscal margins and commitments to the European Union.

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