Finance Minister rejects lifting company levy

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Finance Minister Makis Keravnos has warned politicians against adopting legislation to abolish a €350 company annual levy paid to the Registrar of Companies, as it would affect the state’s fiscal plans.

Parliamentary parties are reviewing proposals that would abolish or lower the annual levy to lighten the burden on businesses from inflation and the hiking cost of raw materials.

Keravnos sent a letter urging parties to abandon any thoughts of altering the annual fee, arguing that any intervention would mean that state coffers would lose tens of millions of euros, affecting fiscal policy.

According to figures presented before the House Finance Committee, €45 mln flows into state coffers from the imposition of the fee, introduced in 2011, as part of fiscal consolidation measures.

Approximately 50% of registered companies do not pay the annual fee.

Not paying the fee is punishable with hefty fines.

Companies have until 1 July to pay the 2023 levy; otherwise, they will be charged a €35 penalty, with the fee rising to €385.

If businesses do not settle their debt by 1 September, the levy rises to €490.

MPs said they plan to proceed with the discussion, arguing that tweaking the company levy could be part of a tax reform currently being prepared by authorities.

The House Finance Committee will invite the tax commissioner for a briefing on progress made on the tax reform.

In his letter to the House, Keravnos noted that a study for implementing a broader tax reform was already commissioned.

“The evaluation of the tax system and the determination of options for the new tax framework will be based on transparency, simplicity and a lower tax burden,” he noted.

As previously reported, the tax-free income level will increase under the tax reform, and a change in the tax brackets is expected.

Abolishing the annual levy has been demanded by employers since its introduction 12 years ago.

The House Finance Committee will discuss five bills submitted by MPs.

One by far-right ELAM foresees the complete abolition of the fee; centrist DIKO wants a scaled implementation of the levy.

DIKO proposes small and medium-sized companies pay €100 and larger firms €350.

Right-wing DISY proposes abolishing the levy for small and medium-sized and innovative businesses.