Less than three weeks before the deadline, almost a third of the country still doesn’t have adjusted “objective values” (property rates used for tax purposes), and the reason for that is that the task force set up at the Finance Ministry has identified major differences in the zone rate recommendations submitted by independent surveyors, a problem that the creditors’ technical staff have also been involved in trying to solve.
The task force and the technical experts of the country’s international creditors have been exchanging emails in an effort to determine the zone rates to be exempted from the adjustment process – where there are extreme discrepancies of more than 50 percent between recommendations for the same area – so as to create an algorithm that will produce the zone rates for the entire country.
This procedure is proving too complicated to be completed for all property zones in Greece in time. According to sources, there are 3,000 zones out of a total 10,000 across the country that show major differences in rates, sometimes up to 60 percent.
It is also a particularly bureaucratic process, as after the decisions of the task force in cooperation with the creditors’ experts, the proposed zone rates will be submitted to the ministry’s second-level committee, which will approve or modify the original recommendations. Then, once that committee has completed its work, the political leadership of the ministry will have to green-light the new rates.
The date set for the announcement of the new objective values, June 1, is now being disputed by committee members, but the arrival of the heads of the creditors’ representatives next week may well offer some solutions for wrapping up the new objective values, while they may even grant an extension to the deadline for the completion of the project, which is one of the dozens of prior actions required for the conclusion of the bailout program. Still, ministry officials argue that the involvement of the creditors will lead to the speedier publication of the new objective values.