Taxpayers Protest Tax Hikes in Albania
November 24, 2014 Uncategorized
TIRANA – Taxpayers in Albania have launched into protest, claiming that new tax measures enacted by the government to secure international credit will not help reduce unemployment, boost economic growth, or cut the national debt.
Over the weekend protestors took to the streets of the capital of Albania, Tirana, to stand up against a number of recently approved tax changes, claiming that the amendments will further weaken the financial position of taxpayers with low-incomes.
The recent tax hikes were part of a deal struck between the government of Albania and the International Monetary Fund to secure a loan to the country of EUR 330.9 million, in exchange for tax raises and the enactment of several new measures to help fight crime, tax evasion and fraud.
The protesters, led by the opposition Democratic Party, claimed that the sweeping tax changes, including a 10 percent to the rate of personal income tax, a 5 percent increase in the rate of income tax for large businesses, and increased taxes for fuel, tobacco, gambling, profits from interest and intellectual property, will only serve to slow down the economy and further hamper the efforts to draw the country out of debt.
The recent tax changes are to the only efforts that the government has made to boost tax revenues, having implemented new programs to hamper financial crime and tax evasion, including the implementation of a lottery system using tax receipts.
Alongside the tax changes, the protesters also claimed that even though the government has boosted its tax take, it has not subsequently increased spending on funding to social programs, and no extra efforts have been made to reduce unemployment rates, which are currently estimated to stand at 18 percent.