Athens Digest 29.07.2019

• Draft bill envisages property tax cuts, improvements to debt repayment scheme

• Report: Turkey to prospect for hydrocarbons in Greece’s continental shelf

• Gov’t to start dialogue to change electoral law

• Taxi drivers and businesses in Corfu and Santorini were June’s top tax violators

• Piraeus Bank appoints Group Chief Financial Officer

# The government submitted its draft tax bill on Friday which will make it easier for private individuals and businesses to settle their tax debts and also slashes property tax. Debtors will be offered lower monthly instalments (beginning at 20 euros), lower interest rates (from 5-percent to 3-percent). Incentives are introduced for debtors to settle their debts with fewer tranches. Moreover, the new legislation  also reduces property tax (ENFIA) by an average of 22-percent. Parliament will vote on the legislation on Thursday.

# Turkey is reportedly planning to prospect for hydrocarbons next month off the southeastern Aegean island of Kastellorizo, within Greece’s continental shelf, according to the Kathimerini newspaper.  More specifically, the paper said that the Turkish Petroleum Corporation has requested permission from the Turkish Navy to conduct exploratory activity in an area stretching from the south of Rhodes to Kastellorizo.

# The government will embark on a dialogue with political parties in order “to achieve the greatest possible convergence and consensus” to change Greece’s electoral law. In an interview to the To Vima newspaper published yesterday Interior Minister Panagiotis Theodorikakos said the simple proportional representation law is “no solution and may create huge problems in the governing of the country.”  He also added that the new electoral law will allow Greeks living and working abroad to vote. This is expected to decisively change the composition of the current electorate. According to Greek law, in order for the country’s new electoral system to take effect in the next elections, it must be passed in 300-seat Parliament with 200 votes. If it is passed with a simple majority then it will take effect in the elections after the next.

# Piraeus Bank has announced that Theodore Gnardellis has been appointed Group Chief Financial Officer, an Executive General Manager role, and member of Piraeus Bank Executive Committee, effective on July 25.Gnardellis joined Piraeus Bank in June 2018 as head of the Piraeus Legacy Unit Strategy,

On Our Radar: Taxi drivers, businesses in Corfu and Santorini were June’s top tax violators
The Ionian island of Corfu topped the list of tourist destinations in the country which violated tax laws in June, with inspectors reportedly issuing citations to 60-percent of business inspected, slightly ahead of Santorini (56-percent).  Businesses on both islands were cited for dodging tax and other related violations. Overall, inspectors visited 7,735 businesses around the country in June. With regard to professional sectors, taxis/chauffeuring services led the pack with 81 percent of those inspected receiving citations, ahead of car washes (75-percent), flower shops (73-percent) and travel agencies (68-percent).