ECONOMY

Property and road tax changes

Greece?s cash-strapped government is preparing to intensify its hunt for backdated property and road taxes.

About a million taxpayers can expect to receive notifications to pay the property tax (FAP) for 2010 and 2011 by the end of this year and the government hopes to collect about a billion euros as a result. The notifications will be sent out by the Finance Ministry between October and the end of the year. The notes will be sent to some 400,000 taxpayers who owned properties valued at more than 400,000 euros in 2010 and to more than 600,000 others for the 2011 tax on real estate worth more than 200,000 euros. Before the notes are sent, the ministry will have to set the rates per square meter, which is expected to have been done by the end of September. Married couples who have declared joint property ownership will receive two separate notes.

The ministry also plans to introduce a new method of road tax payment this year. This will be done electronically and will not require the use of a windscreen sticker. Car owners will pay electronically and will receive a receipt. If they do not pay in time, they will be liable to a fine double the amount due, which will be cleared through the annual tax returns.

According to sources, the ministry will start cross-checking in September to identify those who have still not paid their road taxes for 2012. This will be done by comparing the car ownership data entered in annual tax returns with data concerning those who have already paid the road tax. Those found to have neglected the obligation will receive a note calling on them to pay double the tax due.

The ministry wants to stop the practice of sending about 5.5 million road tax notes to car owners every year and abolish the compulsory car sticker. For those who have filed electronic tax returns, payment notes will be obtained through the individual accounts on the Finance Ministry?s site (www.taxisnet.gr). The printed-out notes will be presented to the bank for payment. Those who filed tax returns in written form will probably still receive the note by mail and be required to take it to the bank.