Call for traders to absorb new VAT hike

The National Confederation of Greek Commerce (ESEE) called on traders yesterday to try to absorb the new hike in value-added tax (VAT) that comes into force on Thursday, as more and more shops have been forced to shut due to the drop in consumption. ‘The absorption of a second VAT rise is not a choice but an obligation, as it is estimated that, given the psychology of the market, many enterprises are seeking alternative solutions to gain themselves some time and avoid closure,’ the ESEE statement read. Confederation data show that two in 10 shopkeepers are relocating to areas with lower rent and operating costs, three in 10 are considering further cutbacks to their staff, four out of 10 cannot fulfill their loan obligations and five in 10 are seriously considering closing their business. Conservative estimates put the amount of the VAT to be absorbed by traders at about 1 billion euros, or some 30 percent of the entire VAT burden on the market.