BUSINESS

New property tax details out

Taxpayers will be able to pay off the newly introduced unified property tax (ENFIA) in six installments, while revisions to the tax rates for 4,000 residential areas around Greece will also be made, the government decided on Tuesday, offering some clarity to one of this summer’s most controversial issues.

Meeting in Athens, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, his deputy and coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos, and Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis also decided that owners of property currently not rented out, or not connected to the electricity grid, would not be granted any ENFIA discounts for this year.

The revisions to ENFIA, which replaces the so-called FAP tax and a levy paid via electricity bills, will be tabled in Parliament Wednesday or Thursday – most probably the latter – with the objective of relaunching the new tax in mid-September following a disastrous first attempt several weeks ago.

Taxpayers around the country were alarmed by ENFIA amounts well above expected levels. The government swiftly acknowledged that numerous calculation errors had been made. It put tax payments on hold, advising people to wait for corrections to be released as well as new payment deadlines.

Based on the revisions decided Tuesday, the deadline for the first of six monthly ENFIA installments was extended by a month, until the end of September, with the final installment to be expected by the end of February.

In other revisions, exemption procedures for vulnerable social groups, including the disabled, will be simplified, it was announced. Also, properties on the Ionian island of Cephalonia, which was struck by a major earthquake in February, have been exempted from the new ENFIA property tax for a year. The same will also apply to properties in other parts of the country affected by other earthquakes and consequently put out of use.

Following the latest revisions, the 2014 ENFIA is worth 3.2 billion euros, although the government is targeting the collection of 2.65 billion. While the revisions made to the 4,000 residential areas reduced the final tally by 165 million euros, the government anticipates it will benefit from an increased collectibility rate, now estimated at 88 percent, from 82 percent initially.

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