Small gains for F&B sector as coffee, soft drinks and juices in Greece to remain at 'salty' 24% VAT rate

Friday, 10 May 2019 13:06
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By S. Emmanuil

Guarded satisfaction has reportedly given way to disappointment for some 40,000 F&B businesses in Greece - a portion being SMEs - as latest reports have most of them excluded from a recently announced reduction in the VAT rate to 13 percent from the current 24 percent.

The reduction was abruptly announced by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras this week, who took to the national airwaves to roll back a small portion of the "tax tsunami" unleashed by his government in 2016 and 2017 in order to meet memorandum-mandated fiscal targets.

Market analysts and professionals in the sector that spoke to "N" said the VAT reduction will not apply to coffee products or soft drinks, a mainstay of thousands of cafes, grills, fast food outlets and bars in the country. The "Scandinavian-leval" VAT rate for spirits, wines and beers will still apply to coffee, soft drinks and juices.

"The measure (VAT reduction) is positive, but half-hearted," the president of the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), Giorgos Kavvathas told "N", who also represented the national federation for restaurateurs and related businesses.

Kavvathas said half of the relevant businesses in the country will not benefit from the VAT reduction, while saying the sector has lost 30 percent of its turnover since 2010, when the economic implosion in Greece commenced in earnest.

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