Final Word from Monday, December 8, 2003





Slovakia's Parliament gave final approval last week to a 19% flat tax, and Czech Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka declared in MFD that the CR will have to react somehow to the "tax dumping" that's taking place. Sobotka sees lower taxes in nearby countries as mainly a dirty trick for attracting foreign investors. He told Právo that the CR won't get caught up in a tax race. The long-term goal instead is to support companies that reinvest in the country, he said. Something he doesn't like to talk about is the tax dumping his ministry is already involved in. As one of the ministers responsible for overseeing state holdings, he's letting numerous state-owned companies claim an advantage over their competitors by failing to pay their social taxes. VZP health insurer alone is owed Kč 17bn. If this money were collected, there'd be more room to lower taxes for everyone. MF Dnes

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