Tax bill 'ready' after differences overcome

A controversial tax bill demanded by foreign creditors in exchange for continued rescue funding was basically complete late Friday after representatives of the three parties in the coalition reportedly bridged most of their differences in a second round of talks with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

The bill, which is expected to go to Parliament by Tuesday so it can be voted on before European leaders meet to approve the release of 34 billion euros in rescue funding for Greece, was tweaked to overcome some objections by PASOK and Democratic Left while some enduring reservations remain to be addressed, sources said.

The bill, which is to be sent to the troika for approval over the weekend, reportedly sets out some tax breaks for certain categories of self-employed professionals. Those who work for a single employer but are not on the payroll will not be obliged to pay the annual levy which will increase to 650 euros from 500 euros. Also those in the first three years of their career will be taxed at a more favorable rate.

In a related development, the Finance Ministry asked the Public Power Corporation to continue levying a property tax via electricity bills, despite a court ruling that deemed the attachment of the tax to power bills as illegal, until the Supreme Court hears the ministry’s appeal for the decision to be overturned.