In Brief

Brussels wants hiring of tax accountants made optional The European Commission is threatening Greece with European Court action for requiring non-resident taxpayers doing business in the country to appoint a tax representative, contrary to EU Directive 2000/65. Greek tax law also requires non-resident businesspeople to maintain accounts in Greece, forcing them to either set up a base here, which violates freedom of movement, or appoint a representative. Finally, in Greece tax declarations must be signed by a business graduate with a license to act as an accountant or tax consultant, which is beyond the options allowed to member states by the Sixth VAT Directive. Separately, Greece is also threatened with court action over its refusal to exempt VAT from the insurance aspect of highway assistance contracts. Record spending for tourism promotion will be upped further Greece’s spending on tourism advertising will reach record highs in 2005, approaching 60 million euros. Tourism Development Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos told Parliament that of the 31.8 million euros promised, Athens will fork out another 28 million euros for supplementary focused campaigns from the government’s share in the gross profits of the Mount Parnes and Corfu casinos. This takes the promotion budget to almost five times the one prepared by the previous tourism administration. Public investment in tourism, which was in decline (56 million euros last year, 38 million euros this year), is more than doubled for next year, reaching 80 million euros. Avramopoulos said tourism is now a key tool in upgrading Greece’s modern image, and for the first time in the new investment incentives law there is a special chapter for tourism, which should make investment more attractive. Industrial production down Industrial output fell 3.1 percent year-on-year in October after a 0.8 percent rise in September, the National Statistics Service (NSS) said yesterday. Manufacturing output was down 4.3 percent. Industry accounts for about 15 percent of total output, with manufacturing amounting to slightly more than 11 percent. (Reuters) OTE advertising OTE Telecom has selected the ADEL-I.N. Leousis consortium to target advertising on «household clients,» with a budget ceiling of 18 million euros; the Leo Burnett and FCB/Gnomi consortium will target the segments of «corporate clients, pre-paid time cards and selling channels,» with a maximum budget of 12 million euros. The contract is for one year, with OTE having the option to renew it unilaterally for another year under the same terms. Imperial Tobacco Already among the 50 most profitable commercial enterprises in Greece and one of the fastest growing, Imperial Tobacco Hellas has recorded a 30 percent rise in sales over the year’s first nine months, reaching 65 million euros, while its pretax profit rose by 29 percent to 8.8 million euros. Managing Director Alexandros Kamaras says the price war raging in the Greek cigarette market, with negative consequences on most international tobacco companies in Greece, has not affected Imperial.