Greek Middle Class Faces Another Tax Hammering in 2019

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Yorgos Kontarinis, FILE)

ATHENS – Greece’s middle class – which Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos admitted was deliberately overtaxed to provide handouts aimed at boosting the sagging fortunes of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA – will take another tax whack in 2019.

With Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras eying a re-election campaign he got the approval of the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-ECB-ESM) to stop more pension cuts due to begin Jan. 1.

But the 2019 budget showed the burden of paying taxes in a country where many wealthy hide their income in secret foreign bank accounts, will again fall on people making between 23,500-24,000 euros ($26,807-$27,377).

That’s some 1.675 million people who will pay 85-90 percent of the total taxes paid into state coffers including the hated ENFIA property tax surcharge that Tsipras promised to scrap but increased and now, facing a campaign, said he will cut.

That middle class sector in a narrow income range will pay some 43 billion euros ($49.05 billion) of the 72-75 billion euros ($82.13-$85.55 billion) brought in from taxes, finding themselves in a vise with more reporting they make under the tax threshold of 15,000 ($17,110) that makes them exempt until 2020 when the benchmark is lowered, breaking another Tsipras pledge.

That doesn’t include self-employed professional with an annual income of 15,000 euros ($17,110) who will be left with less than half of that, some 7,000 euros ($7,985), including taxes and other obligations, said Kathimerini in a review of the tax situation.

Tsipras and major opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrangled over the taxes during a parliamentary debate as the government had imposed an avalanche of hikes and new taxes and raised the corporate rate to 29 percent.