Finance Minister Zdravko Maric has said that Croatia's tax system is far from being at an optimal level, and efforts should be taken to make the system simpler and more transparent, however, he is against ad hoc solutions which is why comprehensive changes are being prepared.

"You won't hear any speculations from me. That is not good for the tax system or for investments," the minister said in Opatija on Friday where he was attending a conference on the money market.

"Give me some time to prepare a thorough analysis with my colleagues because it is necessary to identify all the deficiencies of the entire tax system regarding property taxation," Maric said announcing the compilation of an analysis with comprehensive solutions by early July. After that the document will be put up for public debate.

Asked by the press about plans for the current highest, 40-percent tax rate on income, Maric said that this income tax rate was discouraging, citing the example of IT experts, physicians, researchers and engineers, which are the professions most in-demand in the EU, however, a solution for that issue has not been found yet and the minister added that it was necessary to take into account all groups in society.

As for the state investigation office specialised in tax frauds and evasions, Maric said that this service was an integral part of the Finance Ministry and that the service would not be closed.

As for speculations about the termination of the said investigation office, Maric said this had not been considered and that plans were being made to improve cooperation and networking of all services  of the prosecutorial authorities.

Asked about the response from the European Commission to the proposed National Reforms Plan recently adopted by the Croatian government, Maric said that the first reactions from Brussels could be expected this month.

During his lecture at the conference on the fiscal policy, Maric said that the government's top priority was economic growth and investments. He elaborated that the economy should be boosted, however, "spectacular impacts" from the budget on the economy cannot be expected and the state could help by reducing administrative barriers.

The finance minister said that Croatia, together with the European Union and the Croatian Bank of Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) was finalising a scheme to finance small and medium-sized businesses. He admitted that the state itself made some procedures more complicated and that regulatory framework should be simplified.

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