Greeks face double tax bill next year

The supposed one-off ?solidarity tax? on gross income, which the government introduced this year to help plug a hole in public finances, will have to be paid twice by Greeks next year, it was revealed Thursday.

An amendment drawn up by the Finance Ministry is due to be submitted to Parliament on Friday that will lead to taxpayers having to pay between 1 and 4 percent tax on their income on top of regular income tax and other charges. However, they will pay the ?solidarity tax? twice, one lot for their 2011 incomes and the other for earnings in 2012.

The tax on next year?s income will be added to the amounts that are withheld by employers but the tax on 2011 earnings will be paid in one lump sum as soon as people receive their statements from the tax office.

Venizelos attempted to play down the impact of the tax, suggesting that it would not lead to any extra burden on households but was just a ?technical? adjustment.

However, initial calculations suggest the finance minister is wrong. Someone earning 25,000 euros a year, or 1,785 euros a month, currently has 231 euros in tax withheld by their employer. This will increase to 294 euros per month.

The tax is on a sliding scale, so those earning between 12,000 and 20,000 euros per year are taxed at 1 percent, those on 20,000 to 50,000 at 2 percent, those who make 50,000 to 100,000 at 3 percent and anyone on more than 100,000 euros a year at 4 percent.

Self-employed professionals and farmers will only pay the solidarity tax for 2011 next year. They will pay the amount for 2012 in 2013.

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