Rome: Italy has raised more than 9 billion euros (USD 11.7 billion) so far in 2012 from a housing tax introduced as part of emergency budget measures, and is on track to meet its target for the full year, the Economy Ministry said on Saturday.

Prime Minister Mario Monti announced the new real estate tax (IMU) in December, along with a series of tax hikes, spending cuts and pension reforms in a tough austerity package aimed at boosting Italy's strained public finances.

Following the June deadline for the first IMU installment, the ministry said the tax had raised a total of 9.55 billion euros. About 23.8 million contributors paid an average of about 400 euros, it said.

The results of the first six months of the year suggest the government will meet a target of 20.1 billion euros by the end of 2012, the ministry said.

The IMU applies to first homes in addition to other property, reintroducing a similar tax which was scrapped under former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who quit in November amid soaring Italian bond yields and a looming debt crisis.

It has been among the more unpopular measures adopted by Monti's government, adding to pressure on Italian families already struggling with recession, rising unemployment and stagnant wage growth.

The Economy Ministry said in a separate statement on Saturday that the total raised from value added tax (VAT) in Jan-May 2012 had fallen 1.1 percent compared with the same period of the previous year.

Italy hiked the main VAT rate to 21 percent from 20 percent in September 2011, but the ministry said stagnating domestic demand had led to the decline in the amount raised.

Italian consumer morale hit its lowest in at least 16 years in June and real disposable income of Italian families is lower now than it was 20 years ago, according to national statistics office ISTAT.

Total tax revenue between January and May 2012 was up 2.5 percent compared with the first five months of 2011, despite difficult economic conditions, the ministry said. ($1 = 0.8126 euros)


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