Federation of Hellenic Enterprises calls for lower taxes on businesses, households

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-28 02:54:31|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ATHENS, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Ahead of the July 7 national elections in Greece, the Federation of Hellenic Enterprises (SEV) released a report on Thursday, reiterating a call for lower taxes on businesses and households to boost economic recovery.

No more than 500 enterprises with annual profits of more than 3 million euros (3.4 million U.S. dollars) are paying more than 50 percent of corporate income tax, while just 3 percent of taxpayers pay 42 percent of total income tax revenue, SEV noted, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.

The report, based on an analysis of tax data, said that a serious rationalization of taxes and contributions on salaried employment in the private sector could lead to additional revenues of up to 5 percentage points of GDP for the state.

Industrialists, as well as labor unions and economists have argued in recent years against over taxation which was implemented as part of austerity measures since 2010 to tackle the Greek debt crisis.

For an annual income of 20,000 euros, the Greek state absorbs from wage earners through taxes and social contributions around 44 percent on average from money paid by employers. Only six countries have a heavier burden, SEV's report stressed.

For an annual income of 40,000 euros, the Greek state absorbs 60 percent of money paid by employers. No other European country has a heavier burden, the report underlined.

Both the current ruling Radical Left SYRIZA party, as well as conservative main opposition New Democracy party which leads in all the latest opinion surveys, pledge tax reductions, but SEV asks for bold steps to allow some breathing space in the real economy as soon as possible.

The Federation recommends that tax reductions should focus primarily on taxes and social contributions in the private sector, lowering burdens on business profits and dividends, while taxes should also be lowered on consumption, digital services, passenger transport and tourism and real estate.

According to the latest data for 2018 released earlier this week by Eurostat, Greece is EU's most expensive member regarding prices for internet connections, telecommunication services and equipment. Greeks paid for telecommunication services last year about 56.7 percent higher than the EU average.

According to the same figures, although Greeks lost 25 percent of the GDP and disposable income in the past decade, food in Greece remains about 5.7 percent more expensive than the average prices across the EU.

According to the Eurostat report, Greece is by 24 percent below the EU average in transport services and by 17.3 percent below the EU average in entertainment. (1 euro= 1.13 U.S. dollars)