PROPERTY TAXATION

Objective values hit snags

objective-values-hit-snags

The adjustment of properties’ taxable rates, known as objective values, is evolving into a tough mission, as the surveyors in many parts of the country (there are two for every area) have recommended very different zone rates. There are also major hikes being proposed in some areas that, if accepted, would lead to a significant increase in tax rates.

According to one Finance Ministry official, these rate increases have come mainly from small villages that were popular winter destinations before the pandemic and are now suffering from the restrictions and bans on travel.

In this context, and given that some of the recommendations will need to be judged by a third surveyor to assess the difference in proposed rates, Minister Christos Staikouras said on Thursday that it is possible the adjustment will not be completed according to schedule and that there may be no reductions to the Single Property Tax (ENFIA) this year.

Speaking on Skai radio, the minister said there are two facets to the task at hand: the adjustment of objective values to market rates and the expansion of the tax base with the inclusion of new areas to the system used for calculating property and zone values. He said this task requires significant human resources to be carried out, something that has been made that much harder by the pandemic.

If this task is completed on time and some fiscal space is created, then there may be an ENFIA reduction within the year, with the owners of small and medium-sized properties standing to benefit most.

“We will not save any extra fiscal space for other needs; if we manage to incorporate the data on time and have some fiscal leeway, this will be directed to the reduction of ENFIA,” said Staikouras.

He added that as far as the European Union ban on permanent measures is concerned, that reduction would not affect the fiscal data as it will be conducted in a fiscally neutral way.

Sources say there are major hikes to come in areas of the Athens city center, reaching up to 50% or 60%. In the capital’s northern suburbs the hikes will be smaller, while in tourism destinations and small villages the recommendations are for a rise of 90%-100%.