ECONOMY

Over half of country?s self-employed pay no income tax

Almost four in every seven (56 percent) self-employed people in Greece have declared an annual income beneath the tax-free ceiling of 5,000 euros this year, according to official data from the Finance Ministry, which is keener than ever to combat tax evasion among this segment of the population.

Out of the 347,304 self-employed, only 2,443 declared incomes of 100,000 euros or over for 2011 from their freelancing activity (not including other sources of income). The total tax all freelancers have been asked to pay is 1.2 billion euros, while salary workers and pensioners will pay a total of 8 billion euros into the state coffers this year.

This has led the government to change the taxation system for the self-employed, with the original idea for a blanket tax of 35 percent being put aside in favor of two or three brackets that will see the tax rate grow from 20 to 35 percent, as well as abolishing the tax-free ceiling of 5,000 euros per year altogether. The tax bill including these changes is expected to be tabled Parliament within next month.