By Prokopis Hatzinikolaou
The rejection by the countryís creditors of the governmentís proposal for a 15 percent reduction on the special consumption tax on heating oil led the Finance Ministry to announce on Monday the broadening of the income criteria for recipients of the heating oil allowance and its increase by 25 percent for this winter.
According to the ministryís statement, the number of households that can receive the benefit Ė and have to apply for it Ė will increase from 500,000 last year to 580,000, while the subsidy per liter of heating oil will rise from 0.28 euros to 0.35 euros. A deposit of 25 percent of the total amount will also be payable in advance. This only concerns heating for primary residences.
Consequently, recipients living in a 100-square meter house in Ioannina will this year receive 525 euros against 420 euros last year. They can also get 131,25 euros of that in advance. Recipients living in a 80-sq.m. apartment in Zone A in Kozani will get 700 euros against 560 euros last year.
The recipients base has been broadened mainly by raising the eligibility limits, which have gone up from 25,000 euros of annual income to 30,000 euros for unmarried taxpayers, from 35,000 euros last year to 40,000 euros for married taxpayers with an extra 3,000 euros per child, while the same applies to single-parent families.
The property criteria have also changed, with taxpayers being eligible for the allowance if their properties add up to 200,000 euros (up from 150,000 euros) if they are unmarried and to 300,000 euros from 200,000 euros if they are married.
The criterion of car ownership remains but the eligibility level has risen from 2,000 cc last year to 3,000 cc.
The supply of heating oil is supposed to start from Tuesday. Market professionals estimate that this year the average rate will range from 1.27 euros per liter in Athens and Thessaloniki to 1.33 euros/lt on the islands and the rest of the country. Last year the starting rate was between 1.33 and 1.37 euros per liter.