Favored professions may hold fiscal key

The government could increase revenue by 5 to 6 billion euros per year if it dropped the preferential tax treatment of certain professional groups, such as pilots and athletes, according to Finance Ministry calculations. In a bid to find 8.4 billion euros needed to trim next year’s budget deficit, the government is examining the possibility of making income earned from the favored professionals subject to the regular tax rates applicable to the majority of taxpayers. By implementing such a change, Greece could increase revenue by between 5 and 6 billion euros at a time when tax revenue continues to decline under the weight of the contracting economy. Finance Ministry figures also show that changes introduced to the tax system by the previous conservative government had reduced the tax burden borne by wage earners and pensioners for the first time. However, attempts to shift higher tax obligations to the self-employed did not bear fruit, since they continue to declare low amounts of income. Data from 2008 show that wage earners and pensioners footed 47.9 percent of the country’s tax bill, down from 50.09 percent in the previous year. The government is currently putting together proposals to overhaul the tax system in changes expected to be passed through Parliament in March. Changes are seen yielding fiscal results as of 2011.

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