September 23, 2009 / 6:58 PM / 9 years ago

Slovenia slaps big wages tax on firms on state aid

* Top tax rate raised to 90 percent

* New tax will expire at the end of 2010

LJUBLJANA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Slovenia’s Parliament on Wednesday voted to raise the tax rate on top wages to 90 percent in firms that receive state aid or state guarantees, imposing one of the highest tax rates in the world.

The new 90 percent maximum tax rate imposed by the euro zone member on net wages is up from 41 percent at present and will expire at the end of 2010 or after state aid to a company expires.

It will apply to managers’ wages that exceed 12,500 euros ($18,470) per month and to bonuses that exceed 25,000 euros per year. The new rate gained support by all parliamentary groups and was imposed by a vast majority of votes.

“The new tax will have a small influence on the budget as it only applies to a limited number of companies but it still sends an important signal to people in such strained times,” Borut Hocevar, an editor at daily Zurnal24, told Reuters.

Slovenia, the fastest growing euro zone member over the last two years, has been badly hit by the global crisis, which forced many firms to seek state help. The country’s economy contracted by 8.8 percent in the first half of 2009.

Unemployment has risen strongly since the start of the year and caused several public protests against high salaries of managers in financially troubled companies. The average monthly net wage in the country amounted to 922 euros in July. (Reporting by Marja Novak, Edited by Leslie Adler)

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