Bigger tax grace period for stricken businesses
Businesses that have seen their incomes shrink during the coronavirus pandemic will continue to be exonerated from paying taxes until the end of the year and will, thereafter, benefit from a favorable payments schedule, Alternate Finance Minister Theodoros Skylakakis said in an interview which aired on ANT1 TV Friday.
Businesses of a pronounced seasonal character – that is, for the most part, those depending on the tourist season – will be given extra time, possibly until April 2021, during which time their tax payment schedule will be suspended, he added.
The government is preparing a plan for businesses to repay debts to the state incurred during the pandemic once the grace period expires. Skylakakis said that they will likely get to choose between a 12-month, interest-free repayment schedule, or a 24-month one, with an interest rate of 2.5%.
Skylakakis rejected a demand that businesses repay their debts in 120 monthly installments, as was the case with individuals owing back taxes and social security contributions to the state; he said that not all businesses have the same financial profile, adding that they should have asked for personalized, custom solutions.
As for a mandatory cuts in rents, he said the 40% cut mandated for restaurants, tourism, cultural events and sports events businesses, as well as some transport firms, may continue beyond the end of August, but not for all the above categories. Retailers should arrive at individual rent agreements with property owners, he said.
The association of property owners has already asked for voluntary agreements instead of mandated rent cuts and also that the state fund 30% of the cut in rents in the form of tax breaks.
Skylakakis said that the government may extend unemployment benefits and the freezing of employment contracts to avoid layoffs, but will not consider cutting VAT on a number of products or commercial activities.