ECONOMY

Delays in property tax processing

The 2010 budget runs the risk of suffering losses of over 900 million euros due to the failure by the Finance Ministry to complete in time the calculation of property tax for this and last year and the settlement of outstanding taxes for companies required for the decade 2000-2009. Although the ministry has entered a race against time time to send the tax slips for the current year, sources suggest that the payment of property tax for 2009 and 2010 will be postponed to 2011. Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Kouselas did not rule out any aberrations in this year’s budget concerning both revenues and expenses. He stated yesterday in Thessaloniki that «the targets and the checks will, in the end, be right on or very close to the revised figures for an increase of 52 billion euros in revenues.» Ministry officials have suggested that the General Secretariat for Information Systems (GSIS) will not be able to incorporate onto its electronic system all the changes in real-estate data recorded. As far as the single property tax (ETAK) for 2009 is concerned, the changes to about 1 million statements have not yet been made, resulting in a delay in the mailing of tax-due notices and their payment. This development directly affects the property tax (FAP) for this year as well, with most taxpayers who are due to be charged with levies not receiving the notices this year. This will cause a revenue lag of 600 million euros for 2010, increasing the problems for the budget. The 2009 ETAK should have been paid as of last year but due to the general election in October 2009 and the change in the way the tax is calculated, the process was considerably delayed. There were also problems and errors noted in statements, forcing taxpayers to correct them by September 30 by submitting new statements or requesting a new calculation. The settlement of outstanding corporate tax has also been delayed, as the notices for the tax due have yet to be sent. Ministry sources have noted that there may be 300 million euros less in 2010 revenues due to this delay, compared to a target of 700 million euros for this year. As a result, the shortfall in Greek budget revenues, which stood at 1.8 billion euros in the first nine months of the year, will come to 2.7 billion if the above delays are taken into account.