Greece

Confirmed – Greek standard rate VAT to increase to 24%

On the 22nd May 2016, the Greek Parliament confirmed that the standard rate of VAT will rise from 23% to 24% on the 1st June 2016.

This is part of a group of measures, agreed to after 6 months of negotiations with is creditors, Greece hopes will help unlock bailout funds needed to repay loans and cover the gap in the 2017-18 budget forecast. It is estimated that the rise will generate between €400m and €500m additional revenue.

However there is still much scepticism as to whether the Tax hike will be counterproductive or not, as Greece are still in a recession many believe that raising VAT is one of the worst things they could do right now, especially after the previous VAT hikes and scrapping of the lower rates for some Greek Islands.

This could also lead to Tourists and companies going else where.

 

Greek bailout agreement reached

Greece agree bailout deal

An agreement was finally reached last Monday for a €86B bailout deal for Greece, the terms of the new bailout included implementing by Wednesday 15th July to pass laws that:

• Implement VAT hikes.
• Cut pensions.
• Take steps to ensure the independence of Greece’s statistics office is maintained.
• Put measures in place to automatically slash spending if Greece fails to meet its targets on primary surpluses (revenue minus expenditure excluding debt servicing costs).

And by Wednesday 22nd July to:

• Overhaul its civil justice system.
• Implement the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) to bring bank resolution laws in line with the rest of the EU.
• Market reforms with a clear timetable for implementation of all OECD recommendations, including Sunday trade, sales periods, pharmacy ownership, milk and bakeries, except over-the-counter pharmaceutical products, which will be implemented in a next step.
• Privatisation of the electricity transmission network operator (ADMIE), unless replacement measures can be found that have equivalent effect on competition.
• Labour market policies should be aligned with international and European best practices.
• Adopt the necessary steps to strengthen the financial sector. Continue Reading

Greece presents new bailout proposals

Greece new bail out proposals

Greece have outlined their latest VAT proposals since the ‘No’ referendum last Sunday, so far their main points include:

• Cuts to military spending.
• VAT changes.
• Corporate tax increases.
• Raising retirement age to 67.
• Crack down on tax fraud.
• Increase tax on shipping companies.

The key VAT points are:

• 30% relief for Greek islands to be scrapped – only the most remote islands will keep these tax breaks.
• Restaurants and catering services VAT will rise from 13% to 23%.
• Reduction of the 6.5% to 6%, now only applicable to books, theatre admission and certain medicines.
• A Reduced 13% tax on basic foodstuffs. Continue Reading

Greek financial crisis – possible VAT changes

July 2015

Greek VAT reforms in the economic crisis

Yesterday Greece became the first European Union country to miss their deadline to repay a loan, totaling around £1.1bn, from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after their request for another extension for the previous bailout was denied on Tuesday. By being in arrears to the world’s financial backbone, Greece immediately lose access to IMF resources and could eventually be kicked out of the fund entirely. If the country goes bankrupt or decides to leave the 19-nation Eurozone, the situation could create instability in the region and resonate around the globe.

Greece’s total debt is around €360,000,000,000 which is 180% of its GDP and with around 25% of its citizens unemployed what are Greece doing to try and combat this economic crisis?

Greece’s latest proposals are focused on VAT rates, early retirement measures and tax increases, which aim to cover a good part of the country’s budgetary gap, which is around €900M, the proposals around VAT could bring in around two billion euros. In terms of the VAT proposals last week the government offered VAT increases on a range of products, so the standard rate of 23% would remain but the scope would change with the standard rate being extended to more products including:

• Water supplies
• Transport of passengers
• Social housing
• Repairs to private housing
• Agricultural imports
• Social services
• Food Outlets
• Hotel stays

But nothing is so far confirmed with many other products and services also in the mix for potential VAT raise and the lower 6% reduced rate could be limited to books and medical supplies. Greece’s creditors also want the 30% VAT discount applied to Greek islands eliminated making VAT uniform throughout the country but Greece wants to keep the discount in place. Continue Reading

Greece plan flat 18% VAT rate

News coming out of the EU suggests that Greece is planning on implementing a flat VAT rate of 18% and also reduction in their list of exemptions. Greece currently has one standard VAT rate of 23% and two reduced rates of 13% and 6.5%, these would be combined so there is only one rate of 18% meaning that the standard rate will fall by 5% but the reduced rates will see a significant rise. Medicines would be the only exemption, although tourism VAT rate is also expected to stay at 13%. The special status granted to Aegean islands, with a 30% discount on VAT rates, will be abolished.

This is part of the Greeks government’s negotiations with creditors to start reducing their high levels of national debt, and increase revenues. Nothing has as yet been approved and the rate would not be implemented till late 2015 at the earliest.