Pressure on businesses must be eased

The Greek market is in serious need of some economic respite, otherwise many small to medium-sized enterprises will be run into the ground, National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) officials warned during a meeting with Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis in Athens on Monday.

ESEE President Vassilis Korkidis and general secretary Giorgos Karanikas asked the minister to introduce a number of tax cuts, requesting a 50 percent drop in a solidarity tax on incomes for 2015 and its abolition in 2016, as well as lower tax brackets for businesses from 26 percent and 33 percent to 20 percent in 2015 and 15 percent in 2016.

As for tax rates on individuals, the confederation heads asked for the upper tax bracket to be reduced from 42 to 33 percent. The reduced 13 percent VAT level introduced in the food sector should also apply for the building and sailing sectors, they said. Lower taxes on fuel and an easing of vehicle registration levels were also called for.

Failure to ease the tax burden on small and medium-sized firms would also lead more robust firms toward dangerous territory, Korkidis and Karanikas noted.

Conditions at present are improved compared to a couple of years ago, the finance minister told the ESEE officials.