Mitsotakis: First tax breaks for middle class, businesses as of Jan. 1, 2020

Wednesday, 26 June 2019 22:59
UPD:23:06
Eurokinissi/ΚΑΡΑΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ ΜΙΧΑΛΗΣ
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New Democracy (ND) Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Wednesday evening promised tax breaks as of Jan. 1, 2020 for taxpayers and businesses, if his center-right party wins the upcoming July 7 general election, "pressing home" the party's leitmotif of "less taxes, more growth" and immediate relief for Greece's tax-swamped middle class.

The pro-reform and pro-market former minister spoke at a large outdoor rally in the coastal industrial city of Elefsina, due west of Athens proper, a district that in past elections offered only lukewarm support to the right.  

In again ticking off details, Mitsotakis - the son of late prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis - said the lowest tax bracket (below 10K euros in annual income) for wage-earners, pensioners, self-employed professionals and farmers will drop to 9 percent from the current 22 percent rate.

He also promised the gradual abolition of what the leftist Tsipras government dubbed a "solidarity income tax" lumped on to the regular income tax rate, along with the gradual abolition of a lump sum fee (500 to 600 euros annually) imposed on self-employed professionals, regardless of income.

In again citing VAT rates in the country, he said the indirect - and consumer-biting - levels will drop to 11 and 22 percent, from the current 24 percent rate today, while the 6 percent rate for special items (such as pharmaceuticals) will remain at the lowest level.

Finally, he pledged a 30-percent reduction in the unpopular property tax (ENFIA) over a two-year period. The unprecedented property tax, in a country where no such levy on the value of property ever existed in the modern era, was one of the main reasons for voter discontent against the coalition and ND governments that preceded hard left's SYRIZA rise to power in January 2015.

While SYRIZA and outgoing prime minister Alexis Tsipras had promised to scrap the tax altogether, it nevertheless remained and was expanded after the third memorandum was signed and passed in August 2015.

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