NEWS

Go-ahead for VAT on education sparks anger

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The government’s decision to go ahead with the imposition of value-added tax on private education, even at the lower rate of 13 percent, drew stinging criticism from parents and opposition parties on Tuesday.

It was revealed following a meeting between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Education Minister Nikos Filis that the government would apply a 13 percent rate to private schools and a 6 percent rate to tuition, language, dance and music schools. Kindergartens and nursery schools will not have to charge VAT, the government decided.

The rates decided are lower than the 23 percent first put forward in August but still go against Tsipras’s pledge during last month’s election campaign not to impose any VAT on private education.

New Democracy accused Tsipras of “dishing out false promises” in September. The Communist Party also accused the government of adopting a measure that would harm working-class families who use private education to “make up for the shortages at public schools.”

The decision to apply a lower rate leaves the government some 150 million euros short in terms of estimated revenues this year and next. The 23 percent levy was meant to bring in more than 300 million euros in total.

“I am totally opposed to the government’s decision,” Ioakeim Kallivrousis, the head of the coordinating committee for parents, told Kathimerini. “It is wrong to distinguish education services, education is one entity. We protest the decisions of an untrustworthy prime minister and a government that has been proved to be lying.

“The decision will be blocked by the courts we will appeal to,” he added.