- Published: 04.05.2022.
Marić: Structural reforms precondition for reducing health, pension contributions
Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said on Wednesday that employers' proposal to further reduce the tax burden on labour are taken into account in principle but that additional discussions and analyses are required, while reducing contributions requires structural reforms in the health and pensions systems.
The Croatian Employers Association (HUP) said on Tuesday that attracting and keeping quality labour required a more significant reduction of overall labour costs so that employers could pay higher salaries to workers, proposing short-term proposals for an increase in net wages, which should happen relatively soon.
It is necessary to significantly reduce the total cost of labour, including by increasing non-taxable income to HRK 5,000, reducing the lower income tax rate by 5 pp, from 20% to 15%, and keeping the higher income tax rate at 30% but raising the threshold for its application, from the current HRK 30,000 to 50,000, HUP said.
As for contributions, HUP called for reducing the contribution to the first pension pillar by 2 pp, from 15 to 13%, reducing the health insurance contribution by 1.5 pp, from 16.5 to 15%, and limiting the highest amount of payments for pensions and health insurance to four average monthly wages.
HUP also proposed a further increase in non-taxable payments to workers, notably considering that that does not mean additional costs for the state while creating more room for employers to compensate workers.
HUP advocates increasing the non-taxable amount for rewards from HRK 3,000 to HRK 6,000 and rewards for work performance from HRK 5,000 to HRK 12,000. It also advocates the introduction of non-taxable income for work from home, increasing the non-taxable amount for severance pay and retirement from HRK 8,000 to HRK 15,000 as well as increasing the allowance for the use of private vehicles for business purposes from HRK 2 to HRK 3 per kilometre.
Marić said that at present, at least two-thirds of taxpayers did not pay income tax since in previous rounds of tax reform tax breaks were introduced and basic tax relief was increased.
The principle of proportionality of taxation could be further discussed, he said, recalling other tax changes, including the exemption of young people from income tax, which this year will result in 146,000 young workers receiving HRK 640 million in tax return.
He said that he government had worked a lot on income tax, noting that the scope of nontaxable income had been expanded.
"Further reducing the tax burden, of which I am in favour, requires, among other things, paying special attention to health and pension insurance contributions," Marić said but noted that due to the situation in the health and pension sectors, creating preconditions for further reducing the tax burden on labour would require structural changes in the two sectors.