ECONOMY

New tax on property is considered

The European Commission will tomorrow issue its recommendations to Greece for a way out of the economic crisis, as the government already prepares its next measures, with a focus on property taxes. Brussels will also set a deadline for Greece to announce measures for this year and next in order to reduce its budget deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product. Sources suggest that the government is already considering its next measures and that they center on property taxes as well as the more effective containment of tax evasion. A top economic official in the government recognizes that new measures will likely be required, as those taken earlier this month will have more of an impact in 2010 than this year. Among the measures under consideration are the replacement of the single property tax with a levy that would rise on a scale according to the value of the property. This has several advantages, as it offers immediate cash and would be permanent in nature, which is precisely what the European Commission wants. There are also proposals regarding the abolition of the special consumption tax on fuel. The conjunction is considered favorable for such a measure, as fuel prices have declined significantly relative to the previous year. However, the same official argues, the main target is combatting tax evasion. In this respect, the authorities are seeking a way to automatically record in the auditing services of the Economy Ministry all of taxpayers’ spending, including utility bills, credit card payments and so on.