Owners of homes that are empty or not connected to the electricity grid will receive a 20 percent discount on their property tax, according to an amendment submitted to Parliament on Tuesday by the government.
This was the latest adjustment to the single property tax (ENFIA) made by the government since numerous mistakes were discovered last month. There were long deliberations over how big the discount for properties not in use should be, with the Finance Ministry indicating that the figure should be under 20 percent. It appears, though, to have lost out to the wishes of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his advisers, who are concerned about the negative reaction to ENFIA.
The concern about how voters have received the new tax was visible from the fact that 21 New Democracy MPs submitted a question in Parliament to Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis asking him about the role of economics professor Nikos Karavitis in designing ENFIA. Karavitis was an unpaid adviser at the Finance Ministry but left the position in June.
PASOK secretary Nikos Androulakis blamed ex-Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, now Bank of Greece governor, for the ENFIA foul-up. “He was the minister for most of the time we were discussing how the tax could be shared out fairly,” said Androulakis.