Austrian Study Vindicates SPÖ's 'Millionaire's Tax'
12 June 2013
Posted by: Author: Ulrika Lomas
Author: Ulrika Lomas
Austria's ruling Social Democrat (SPÖ) party has insisted that the majority of the population supports its plans to introduce a "millionaire's tax" in Austria, levied on wealth in excess of EUR1m (USD1.3m).
The SPÖ claims that a millionaire's tax imposed on wealth in excess of EUR1m (excluding household possessions and corporate assets) and an inheritance tax levied on inheritances over EUR1m (with the exception of a sale of a business), would serve to yield much-needed fiscal revenues for the state of between EUR2bn and EUR3bn.
A recent survey conducted for Austrian newspaper "Kurier" revealed that almost three quarters of those questioned were in favor of the introduction of wealth taxes in Austria. Only 23 percent stated that they were opposed to a tax on wealth, while 29 percent argued that wealth in excess of EUR500,000 should be subject to taxation, 18 percent suggested that a tax should be imposed on wealth in excess of EUR700,000, and 24 percent maintained that a tax should be applied to wealth in excess of EUR1m.
Welcoming the findings, Austria's Financial State Secretary Andreas Schieder explained that the survey confirms that the SPÖ is justified in its calls for a millionaire's tax. SPÖ federal whip Norbert Darabos emphasized that the party is on the right path in seeking to ensure tax justice and in demanding a greater contribution from the country's millionaires to debt reduction.
Darabos denounced claims by coalition partner the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) that a millionaire's tax would adversely affect the country's middle class as mere propaganda. People in Austria are all fully aware of who belongs to the middle class, and it is certainly not those with wealth over EUR1m, Darabos stressed. The SPÖ's federal whip underlined the fact that only 1 percent of the population, namely the country's 78,000 super rich, would be affected by the levy.
In contrast, the ÖVP has warned again that the introduction of new wealth and property taxes would impact heavily on domestic businesses in Austria, posing a threat to Austria as a location and endangering jobs. The ÖVP argues that Austria already has one of the highest tax burdens in Europe, and stresses that taxes should be reduced for companies. New taxes are simply counterproductive for the further development of Austria, the party makes clear..