ECONOMY

Single property tax is outlined

Property owners will only have to pay a single tax for their assets, while if this is their main residence and under 250-300 square meters, they will pay nothing, said Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis in an interview with Skai Radio. Clarifying the government’s intentions for the following year, Alogoskoufis explained that property owners will pay between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent every year on the objective value of their properties. This effectively means that only those who own very large properties or more than one will have to pay property tax. «The aim is that within the context of simplifying the system, all properties, apart from the main one which covers basic housing needs, pay a low tax just like in all countries in the world,» said Alogoskoufis. «We simplify to a great extent the taxation of properties, we abolish a series of taxes that are problematic, such as the inheritance tax, the transfer tax or other levies that burden properties,» he stated. «But on the other hand, we are also tackling the massive evasion that existed in real estate taxation. This translates into a great increase in public revenues. Many more people will pay who until now would pay nothing for the property they acquired. In several instances, their acquisition is not 100 percent certain to have been legitimate. In any case it will be those who own the big properties who will pay.» The exact surface threshold for taxing the main residence has not been set, but it will be necessary, said Alogoskoufis. «You cannot have a main residence of 1,000 sq.m. exempted from taxation. It is not socially fair. You cannot exempt palaces from tax.» On the issue of the planned leveling of fuel tax on heating oil and diesel to combat tax evasion, Alogoskoufis explained that citizens will be able to claim the difference in tax for their heating oil from banks by bringing along their receipt and an official statement about their use of the oil acquired. «This will be a simple system: Consumers will get a receipt from their fuel supplier which will say that the fuel has been sold for heating or agricultural use. It will also state the tax return consumers are entitled to and can claim with just one official statement, regardless of whether they are the owners, administrators of blocks of flats or farmers,» he said. He added that in order to avoid any loopholes, there will be some limits to consumption depending on the surface area of every property, with inspections taking place if the limits are exceeded.