Lawmakers on Monday began discussing a bill to write off overdue tax where the total amount owed does not exceed €100.
The legislative proposal, tabled last week by Disy MP Averof Neophytou, would give the cabinet the authority to approve a debt write-off proposal brought before it by the finance minister, upon the recommendation of the Tax Department which will prepare the list of debtors.
Concerned debtors need not apply for the write-off. To be eligible, debtors – persons and corporations – must have filed their tax returns until 2015, and must not have accumulated additional tax arrears in 2016 and 2017.
The law, if passed, would apply until January 3, 2018.
The reasoning behind the proposal is to alleviate the administrative workload on the Tax Department which has to deal with tens of thousands of cases of petty sums.
In this way, said Disy deputy Onoufrios Koulla, authorities would be free to turn their attention to major sums, thus improving their overall tax-collection efficiency.
According to the Tax Department, there are currently some 35,000 taxpayers who owe an average of €60 for a collective €2.1 million. The amount includes late fees and penalties.
Among these, €263,000 is owed for VAT, €1,480,730 for income tax, €202,697 for immovable property tax, and €156,673 for the special defence contribution.
MPs heard that both the finance ministry and the Tax Department are on board with the proposal.
The house finance committee also approved a prior cabinet decision in September for increasing the overtime and shift allowance for government employees who are paid by the hour.
Under the adjustment, each hour of overtime work will from now be counted as 1.2 hours on week days, and as 1.5 hours on weekends.
The additional cost to the taxpayer would come to some €540,000.