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Economy

More COVID-19 Aid Coming for Greek Businesses, Battered Taxpayers

ATHENS – Greek businesses hammered by lockdowns during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, and workers temporarily laid off and struggling, will get more state assistance despite worries the coffers are getting low.

The Finance Ministry said a tax prepayment for self-employed professionals of 100 percent – requiring them to pay taxes on income they haven’t received – will be cut permanently to 55 percent, still a burden for many, especially now.

The former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA used a previous year’s income as the basis to make the self-employed pay up front for the coming year, breaking another vow to help workers.

That’s been changed by the New Democracy government that SYRIZA said isn’t friendly to workers but which has reversed Leftist measures that targeted the middle class and hurt the elderly, pensioners, young and unemployed.

Another tax break, also permanent, is a reduction in pre-payment for business entities, from 100 percent to 80 percent, but 70 percent for 2021 as the country is trying to beat back the pandemic and restore the economy.

The income tax rate is also reduced – for 2021 incomes and revenues – to 22 percent from 24 percent, said Kathimerini, the second time it has been cut from the previous 28 percent set by SYRIZA.

Greece's high social insurance contributions are also being cut, by 3 percent, for private sector workers and the hated solidarity tax that makes wage earners pay for the disadvantaged will be again suspended, through 2022.

That tax, part of a tsunami of taxes put on workers, pensioners and the poor by SYRIZA, drew fierce criticism because it affected lower-paid workers in the middle class as well, who that government admitted was deliberately targeted to redistribute their wealth to poorer groups who had also suffered.

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