Usually there are few legislative changes during the summer months. But football competitions have started and the law makers have returned. Here's a summary of what they came up with:
Remember last months' article about the new French president Francois Hollande and his socialist plans of introducing a 75% income tax rate? Well it gets worse. French Budget Minister Jérôme Ćahuzac has announced plans to cap tax breaks in France at €10,000 per household per year. Tax breaks are currently capped at €18,000 annually plus 4% of income. With over 500 tax breaks available, limiting these will be easier than trying to abolish them.
But wait, there's more: earlier French finance minister Pierre Moscovici (in France they have two ministers for the same job) announced he would like to abolish a tax exemption on overtime enacted under Sarkozy, repeal a law which shifted labour charges onto a rise in VAT sales tax and double the financial tax. Together with the increased income tax and one-off taxes on large banks and energy firms the total tax bill is at least 7.2 billion Euro on an already over-leveraged economy.
Did you ever dream of having your own private island? Perhaps with some debt-slaves to prepare your meals and bathe you? Then you won't have to wait any longer: the Greek fire sale has begun. The Greek government is now willing to sell state owned property including uninhabited islands.
Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras told Le Monde that some isles that pose no problems to national security can be sold for commercial use. Samaras is currently touring Europe in an effort to convince northern European states once more that Greece can pay off her debt.
In order to meet the conditions of last years' bailout, Greece has to raise 50 billion Euros from state- asset sales by 2020, half from company-stakes sales and half from real estate. So far it has only brought in about 1.8 billion Euros.
Perhaps the Greek government should also consider selling inhabited islands. The islanders of Hydra, once a notable commercial and naval power, decided they would not put up with an audit by mainland tax inspectors. An angry mob stoned the terrified taxmen who sought refuge in the island's police station. The islanders then proceeded to lay siege to the police station and cut its power & water supply. The siege was broken when riot police from the mainland landed on Hydra the next day.
Business in Hydra relies heavily on tourism and annual income has to be pulled in during several summer months. The tax audits and drop in tourism following the riot will see many businesses go bankrupt this winter.
The Association of British Travel Agents has been campaigning for months to have the Air Passenger Duty for UK passenger flights reduced and levied more logically. APD was introduced in 1994 with a £5 rate for the UK/EU and £10 elsewhere. Since then, it's seen several increases and now stands between £13 and £184 (€16.5 to €232.5) depending on flight destination.
A successful petition and a parliamentary inquiry have given the organization the ammunition needed to have APD reduced or abolished. According to the parliaments own findings air passenger duty "kills economy" and is "a barrier to inward business".
You can support the reform effort and sign the petition on the ABTA facebook page.
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