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OUCH! Greek citizens earning more than $55,000 U.S. annually to be taxed 42 percent

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 14th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

People or families that are earning about $55,000 a year are considered at the top of their form, middle class wise. There's more than enough money to put food on the table and go someplace fun for two weeks out of the year. In cash-strapped Greece, however, those who make $55,000 or more a year will be taxed at a whopping 42 percent. It's all part of that struggling European nation's new tax plan.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - According to the new tax plan, Greeks earning more than 42,000 or $55,000 annually will now be taxed at a new top rate of 42 percent. Under the new guidelines, the 42 percent top tax rate and earnings threshold replaces the previous level of 45 percent for incomes above 100,000 or $130,770.

These new rates are all part of a simplification of the country's tax rules. There are currently eight tax bands ranging from 18 percent to 45 percent. These will be replaced by three tax rates: 22 percent, 32 percent and 42 percent.

Greeks earning less than 25,000 or $32,700 a year are set to benefit from the new system.

The new tax rates are part of the austerity measures demanded by the country's international rescue lenders. These new guidelines were submitted to parliament hours after the finance ministers from the 17 European Union countries that use the euro agreed to restart rescue loan payments.

Currently, Greece is in line to get 49.1 billion or $64 billion between now and March, with 34.3 billion of that amount due in the days ahead.

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras presented the plans to his colleagues from the other 16 European Union. In return for the rescue loans, Greece's international lenders have insisted on a series of reforms, tax raises and spending cuts.

The staggered hikes in taxes, which are required to meet deficit-cutting targets, have hammered the economy. Greek unemployment is now up to 26 percent - with more than in four jobless. In addition, more than 20 percent of the population now officially lives in poverty, earning less than 7,200 - or less than $9,420 in U.S. dollars, per year.

Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has promised a rapid settlement of state debts while spending 11.3 billion or $14.78 billion on a debt buyback scheme.

"Today ends a long and difficult period of anxiety for Greece," Samaras told journalists in Brussels.

"It ends the rumors, blackmail and pressures on our country to exit the euro. Today, Greece gained a great opportunity to stand on its feet and get out of the crisis - standing, not kneeling."

According to a recent poll, Samaras' center-right New Democracy party lost ground to its main rival, the left-wing Syriza Party.

The poll also found that the Greek population now has a negative view of the European Union: 50 percent compared to 46 percent with a positive view - a major shift from the respective positions of 37 and 61 percent six months ago.

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