By Prokopis Hatzinikolaou
A series of amendments tabled in Parliament on Friday by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras are intended to correct the injustices of past tax bills affecting the unemployed, students and those who had particularly low incomes during 2013.
The main amendment provides for students, landlords, depositors and unemployed people with annual incomes of up to 5,000 euros, or with assets equivalent to an income up to 9,500 euros, to be taxed according to the brackets used for salary workers and not those used for freelancers. That means they will not have to pay a tax deposit and will be able to enjoy a tax exemption for up to 2,100 euros of their income if they can provide the authorities with receipts equal to 25 percent of their income.
Consequently, an unemployed taxpayer who only receives rent from the property he owns amounting to 4,000 euros per year until today had to pay 400 euros in income tax plus 220 euros as the 55 percent deposit for next year’s income – i.e. 620 euros. Now he won’t have to pay anything, provided of course that his assets do not correspond to a taxable income of 9,500 euros per year.
The so-called extraordinary solidarity levy will now be paid by all taxpayers over the course of the year and not the following year together with the payment of income tax. Today salary workers pay the levy on a monthly basis, while freelancers pay it up to a year later. Pensioners will have their levy taken out of their pension during the year’s 12 months, as is the case with their income tax.
Inheritance tax can now be paid with the transfer ownership of the assets to the state by the taxpayers instead of a cash payment, upon the taxpayer’s request. The owner could even transfer another asset instead in order to fulfill his obligations to the tax authorities, provided it covers the tax due. Under no circumstances however will taxpayers get any change for what they concede to the state.
Another amendment implements the government’s pledge that value-added tax will be paid by companies with an annual turnover of up to 500,000 euros upon customers’ payment. In the future the turnover limit for that clause may well rise to 2 billion euros, according to sources.