Rome

VAT 3-mth postponement 'possible'

'Less than 5% chance of eliminating it for good'

VAT 3-mth postponement 'possible'

Rome, August 30 - A three-month postponement in raising the highest VAT band from 21% to 22% is "possible", Economy Undersecretary Pierpaolo Baretta said Friday on the latest economic issue to split his Democratic Party (PD) from its centre-right ruling partner, Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party. The PD has warned that the government will be unable to keep a promise to avoid the hike after reaching a long-sought deal to replace property-tax IMU with a service tax next year, Berlusconi's key election pledge. The PdL says the government will still be able to find the money and stay within EU-mandated budget restrictions. "The chances of putting off the VAT hike for three months are quite good," Baretta said. "But the chance of getting rid of it for good is less than 5%," he said.

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