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Spain to slap new tax on millionaires whilst cutting taxes for low earners

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Spain to slap new tax on millionaires whilst cutting taxes for low earners
"Since we began governing, we have been working to make our fiscal system more progressive, efficient and strong enough to support social justice," Spain's Budget Minister María Jesús Montero said. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

Spain will cut the income tax of low-earning households and introduce a new tax for residents whose wealth exceeds €3 million, the latest chapter in the fiscal war being waged between the left-wing national government and its right-wing regions.

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The government will reduce the income tax on people earning up to €21,000 ($20,200) per year, or one in two workers, Budget Minister María Jesús Montero told a news conference om Thursday.

At the same time, she confirmed the government will slap a new tax in 2023 and 2024 on residents whose wealth exceeds €3 million to help pay for inflation relief measures.

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This so-called "solidarity" tax will affect some 23,000 people, or 0.1 percent of taxpayers, and raise €1.5 billion for state coffers over the two years, she added.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's government announced last week that it would create a temporary tax on the wealthiest population without giving details.

"Since we began governing, we have been working to make our fiscal system more progressive, efficient and strong enough to support social justice," Montero said.

The announcement of the tax changes comes as Spain is gearing up for local elections in May 2023 and a general election expected at the end of next year.

Last week, the right-wing leader of Spain's southern Andalusia region decided to axe wealth tax and lower income tax in a bid to attract wealthy taxpayers.

Within a matter of days, Valencia's left-wing regional president announced a reduction in income tax for the vast majority of taxpayers in the eastern autonomous community. 

Spain’s Personal Income Tax (IRPF) is a state tax, but half of its collection is controlled by the autonomous communities.

READ MORE: How Spain’s politicians are waging a tax war ahead of 2023 elections

Spain is battling a surge in inflation as a result of the fallout from the war in Ukraine and the reopening of the economy after pandemic-related lockdowns.

The country's inflation rate eased to 9.0 percent in September as energy prices fell, down from 10.5 percent in August, but remains high.

Sánchez has in recent months rolled out aid packages to help households and businesses weather the inflationary pressure, which has soared across Europe due to the Ukraine war.

It has introduced free public transport, subsidised petrol prices and temporarily slashed the sales tax on gas among other measures, in moves that are expected to cost some 30 billion euros -- or 2.3 percent of Spain's gross domestic product.

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