Buying and selling assets gets easier

In a move that was long overdue and will bring great relief to people, the government yesterday presented legislation that will wipe out much of the bureaucracy involved in buying and selling property and other assets, including cars, leisure boats and even airplanes. National Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis yesterday made public the bill whereby the only document necessary in selling and buying such expensive assets will be a simple signed declaration providing the information necessary. This will replace a number of other documents that had to be supplied by government services after requests by interested parties, such as declarations that they do not owe any taxes. Up to today, transactions such as the transfer of property, signing a mortgage, getting a permit for a vehicle for farm use, transferring ownership of a boat or plane, required documents from the tax department certifying income and showing the value of the assets in question. Acquiring these papers could take between three and five days in the best of cases as officials at the tax department tried to root out the interested party’s files. From the start of the new year, people will sign a declaration providing the information demanded for the transaction and submit it to the notary public, the bank or wherever required. They will also submit simple photocopies of their income declarations if requested, which will be inspected on a random basis. The tax bill that Christodoulakis presented yesterday also includes a reduction in taxes for large investments; the right for companies to invest untaxed profits; the jailing of people issuing or receiving fake documents; higher pensions for retired farmers and a restoration of the requirement to provide proof of income in order to take out private loans. The tax department will penalize companies with points for infringements, which if accumulated by a firm will warrant an inspection.