Greek home owners hit by tax hikes

Greek home owners hit by tax hikes
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Greece has approved a series of tax reforms, opposed by much of the population, but necessary for the country to secure further bailout funds and avoid bankruptcy.

A new bill, approved by the Greek parliament early on Saturday, raises tax rates on property and corporate profits and scraps many tax exemptions.

It aims to raise 2.5 billion euros of extra revenue over the next two years.

But it all adds up to a lot of hardship for many Greeks, already hit by several rounds of austerity measures.

Georgia Katsoli and Nikos Bellos own their own home, but they are both unemployed and struggling with rising rates and taxes.

Georgia says her dream house has become a nightmare:

“We dreamt of buying a home so that we wouldn’t have to pay rent and deal with landlords. We bought one, but now we can’t afford to pay for it.”

Nikos says taxes can only be paid by those who have money:

“If I get a job on Monday, I’ll pay taxes, I’ll be law-abiding. But I don’t have any money, so how am I supposed to pay?”

But the reforms are part of an austerity package that the Greek government has to proceed with in order to secure the money it needs from international lenders.

Now entering its sixth year of recession, Greece is due to receive another 14.7 billion euros of international rescue loans by the end of March.

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