Greece’s road tax system is set for big changes with Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis’s plan to force all vehicle owners to pay a levy, even if they had hitherto been exempt.
Sources say that two ministerial decisions will be issued early next week regarding road tax and the heating oil benefit. In terms of road tax, which is payable by the end of the year, the plan will provide for the inclusion among paying drivers of those who acquired their vehicles after 2010. Therefore, some 100,000 vehicle owners will have to pay road tax for the first time, meaning all car and motorcycle owners will now be burdened with the levy.
As a Finance Ministry official explains, the owners of vehicles of 1,400 to 1,600 cc who currently pay no road tax because their vehicles emit lower levels of pollutants will now have to start paying, while the ministry intends to reduce medium-sized vehicles’ tax as well as that of older vehicles that currently pay a high tax.
Regarding the heating oil benefit, the plan provides for the number of recipients this year to be reduced to 700,000 from 1.1 million last year. In fact, 5.5 million households were entitled to the benefit but only one in every five actually applied for it. This year some 2.3 million households are entitled to it and the ministry expects applications from 700,000. The plan will offer the benefit to married couples with annual incomes of up to 20,000 (increasing by 2,000 euros per child) and with property assets that add up to no more than 150,000 euros in objective value.
The rate of the subsidy will amount to 25 cents per liter, against 35 cents per liter last year. Given the lower retail price of the commodity (thanks to the drop in international oil rates), the subsidy will reduce the price for benefit recipients to below 60 cents per liter.
The first installment of the benefit will be paid out in January 2016 and the second in May, which means there will be no advance payment as in previous winters.