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Taxes

New Greece tax bill awaits parliamentary approval

Greece has submitted a new tax bill to parliament in a bid to secure higher government income in the years ahead. The draft law does away with many tax exemptions and raises rates across the board.

Only hours after eurozone finance ministers agreed to unlock a new tranche of loans for Athens, the Greek government on Friday submitted a new draft tax law to parliament, hoping to win legislators' approval for a wide range of measures to boost state income over the next couple of years.

Athens said the new bill would generate some 2.5 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in additional resources annually, simplify the tax system and curb tax evasion.

The present eight tax brackets ranging from 18 to 45 percent income tax were to be replaced with three rates of 22, 32 and then 45 percent for those with an annual income of more than 42,000 euros, the government said. It added there would also be a tax on capital gains.

Another acid test

"The proposed legislation is part of wider plans to create a just and effective tax system, reorganize the tax collection mechanism and apply a stricter framework against tax evasion," the draft document said.

Getting the bill through parliament is among the conditions Athens must meet to get 14.7 billion euros in rescue loans by the end of March 2013, on top of the 34.3 billion euros international lenders cleared for disbursal on Thursday.

It's widely viewed as a further test for the cohesion of Greece's fragile three-party ruling coalition under conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

hg/msh (dpa, Reuters)