Ever booked a hotel room online and wondered why the “final” price is higher than the price quoted on the screen? Or gone to check out of your room only to find that your bill has mysteriously increased, even though you assiduously avoided the mini-bar, and definitely did not spirit away the bathrobe in your luggage? Well, there’s a word for it, and one with which readers of this column should be very familiar: tax.
It’s certainly no coincidence that tourism-based taxes have multiplied considerably since the financial crisis. And it is no coincidence either that such taxes have sprouted up in the eurozone’s most cash-strapped countries, and especially those with substantial tourism industries. Spain and Greece are two examples. And in Portugal, companies are starting to complain about the increasing prevalence of these “discreet taxes.”
An indication of how widespread tourist taxes … Read More »
Jam tomorrow for the Portuguese, facing another year of austerity under the country’s 2014 budget, but at least corporation tax is being cut, if only by two percent, to 23 percent. It’s billed as a step on the way towards a target rate of 19 percent by 2018; but the situation is worse than that for bigger companies, which pay up to five percent more in surtax, plus a local supplement of up to 1.5 percent, making a total of 29.5 percent, which suddenly doesn’t sound so attractive. The Spanish headline rate is stuck at 30 percent, so maybe there’s an element of local competition in Portuguese thinking. Portugal is still under an EU bailout program worth EUR68bn, but does seem to be struggling free of the worst of its crisis, with a return to growth in the second half … Read More »