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Slovak parliament backs supplementary bank, company taxes
BRATISLAVA, July 26 |
BRATISLAVA, July 26 (Reuters) - Slovak lawmakers approved on Thursday supplementary taxes on company profits and bank deposits aimed at helping the government trim its budget deficit to within EU limits next year.
Unlike some of its European peers, Slovakia is expected to meet the 3 percent of GDP deficit target in 2013 with the help of a 1.5 billion euro austerity package of which the new taxes form a part.
Leftist Prime Minister Robert Fico has also repeatedly criticised banks and energy utilities for making record profits at a time when the region is battling a deepening debt crisis that has dragged many countries into recession.
The 0.36 percent corporate tax will be levied monthly on energy, transport and telecommunication companies with annual profits exceeding 3 million euros ($3.64 million) and business regulated by the state. Many of the former are foreign-owned.
The finance ministry expects the levy, due to enter into force in October, to boost state revenues by 25.7 million euros this year and 77 million in 2013.
Parliament also voted through an increase in a 0.2 percent tax on bank deposits introduced in January. The tax - which has been heavily criticised by the country's predominantly foreign-owned lenders - will rise to 0.4 percent from October and be extended to cover retail as well as corporate deposits.
Designed to create a cushion for possible future banking crises, it will be gradually lowered once it has raised 500 million euros, Finance Minister Peter Kazimir said last Thursday.
Fico, whose Smer party holds a comfortable majority in the 150-seat lower parliamentary house, also plans to raise corporate income tax for all firms to 23 percent from 19 percent next year.
($1 = 0.8248 euros) (Reporting by Martin Santa; Editing by John Stonestreet)
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