ECONOMY

Fresh tax measures looked into

The Economy and Finance Ministry is preparing measures to bolster the sectors that are suffering the most due to the ongoing global crisis, particularly construction and tourism. The measures, to be announced next month, are meant to help some of the worst-affected domains of the economy, which also happen to be those that drive gross domestic product growth. As far as construction is concerned, the ministry is examining exempting from taxable income all interest paid on mortgage loans taken out to purchase a main residence and offering a subsidy to enterprises and professionals who acquire a mortgage for commercial property. Another proposal provides for the Workers’ Housing Organization (OEK) to make purchases from the existing stock of unsold houses, instead of constructing new buildings to implement the housing program for the people eligible to benefit from it. Further plans include applying pressure on construction companies to reduce their prices, as the government realizes rates have been kept high via technical means. To this end, the single property tax could rise from its current rate of 0.6 percent for the unsold buildings of construction firms. The ministry’s General Accounting Office is also studying a program that would offer guarantees for loans to enterprises in sectors such as tourism and fish farming similar to that of the Guaranteed Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (TEMPME). These sectors are expected to suffer significantly due to the crisis.