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Third of Austrians in favour of 'tax strike'

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Third of Austrians in favour of 'tax strike'
Euro notes. Photo: APA
10:53 CEST+02:00
Some Austrian companies have started a kind of tax strike - by refusing to make some tax payments they want to put pressure on the government to make more savings.

A poll carried out by the OGM market research group, on behalf of the daily Kurier newspaper showed that a third of people asked were in favour of a tax strike and believed that tax money is being wasted.  

Fifty-two percent of people thought a tax strike was not justified, while 33 percent thought it was. 

"Most of the population is not self-employed and view entrepreneurs as rich, because people think they have big companies. Envy plays a role. Nevertheless it's noteworthy that 33 percent approve of the tax boycott," OGM pollster Karin Cvrtila said. 
 
She pointed out that 33 percent is a higher number than those currently registered as self-employed in Austria - and that this shows how angry people are with the government on the issue of tax. 
 
Supporters of the liberal NEOS party are strongly in favour of companies withholding taxes - with 72% voting in favour in the OGM poll. "Many NEOS fans are self-employed and highly educated," Cvrtila said. 
 
Asked if they could imagine taking part in the tax strike, 35 percent of people said yes, 41 percent said no. Those who abstained mainly did so because their tax is automatically deducted from their salary, and also for moral reasons "because people know that a portion of tax goes towards financing the health care and pension systems," Cvrtila said. 
 
Oliver Ginthör, head of the taxpayers association, said he had received many enquiries about how to join the tax strike. He doesn't recommend it but says it shows "that a large proportion of Austrians are angry and this shows the need for political action." He believes it's time for tax reform. 
 
Recently, business leaders have warned that Austria is seriously under threat as an economic location. 

Several banks have indicated that they are considering moving their headquarters abroad because of high taxes. Steel industry Voestalpine boss Wolfgang Eder also said that the tax burden and the government's lack of interest in reforms was also forcing him to consider relocating to the United States.
 
Managers are complaining of high taxes, too many bureaucratic hurdles, a lack of any interest in reform and high energy prices for businesses.
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