Finance ministry sources deny that new laws lowered taxes for MPs and persons in public office

The changes in tax law introduced in 2016 ensure that political figures holding public office pay the same amount as any other citizen, finance ministry sources stressed on Tuesday in response to an article carried by the newspaper “Eleftheros Typos”.

The same sources stressed that the solidarity levy for such individuals was in all cases higher than the amounts that would have been payable under the Samaras-Venizelos taxation law passed in 2014. They noted that the tax burden on persons in public office was either lowered or increased, depending on their total income in the same way as for other tax-payers, so that those with higher incomes now had to pay more.

According to the sources, the article also falsely claimed that an 8 pct taxation rate for persons in public office was introduced by the Samaras-Venizelos law in 2014 but this was not accurate. The original bill had actually reduced taxation rates by 30 pct, including the solidarity level for MPs, they said. The relevant sections of the 2014 law never came into force, however, because they were amended by a SYRIZA-ANEL bill in 2015 that introduced the 8 pct rate for persons in public office.

“Eleftheros Typos” article claimed that the new changes led to some MPs paying almost 2,000 euros less each year for the solidarity levy. The finance ministry countered that this sum should not be looked at in isolation and that the total tax burden for each individual should be taken into account, noting that the changes had made the taxation system fairer and shifted the burden away from lower incomes.