Greece seeks 2.5 billion euros in new tax revenues

Fri Dec 14, 2012 6:16am EST
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By George Georgiopoulos

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece has formally unveiled a bill to boost tax revenues under the terms of its international bailout, part of a two-pronged attack to get its citizens and firms to pay their way.

The planned measures are estimated to increase tax revenues by about 2.5 billion euros in 2013-2014, the finance ministry said.

A second bill to be introduced later will to reform a tax administration widely seen as corrupt and ineffective in combating rampant tax evasion.

The first bill, introduced, late on Thursday, scraps many tax exemptions and raises tax rates on property, companies and households with above-average income. There is also a tax on capital gains for stock sales.

"The proposed legislation is part of wider plans to create a just and effective tax system, reorganize the tax collection mechanism and apply a stricter framework against tax evasion," said the draft legislation.

The bill is part of an overall 13.5 billion euro austerity package for the next two years that Athens passed last month to qualify for further EU/IMF bailout funds.

Wage cuts and tax increases will keep the economy in a sixth consecutive year recession in 2013, bringing total economic contraction in 2008-2013 to 24 percent, according to estimates by the country's central bank.

Getting the tax bill through parliament is among the conditions Athens must fulfill to get 14.7 billion euros in rescue loans by the end of March, on top of the 34.3 billion its lenders cleared on Thursday for disbursal.   Continued...

Women walk outside of the ancient Herodes Atticus theatre as the Parthenon temple is seen in the background in Athens December 13, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis