Municipal taxes spiraling higher

Municipal taxes have risen by more than 100 percent over the last three years in some areas of Attica, according to the Athens Chamber of Commerce Industry (EBEA), which yesterday recommended that municipalities should not be allowed to hike their taxes above the rate of inflation. Households and businesses pay municipal taxes, which are added to their electricity bills, but EBEA raised concerns about the effect that the hikes are having on small and medium-sized firms in particular. EBEA gathered information from the 126 municipalities and communities in Attica and found that almost half had increased their taxes by 20 percent between 2002 and 2005. In four municipalities, the charges to residents and businessmen shot up by more than 100 percent. Municipal tax in the suburb of Voula, southern Athens, rose by 103 percent to 6.56 euros per square meter per year. The biggest rise was in the community of Oropos, northern Attica, where local charges increased by 158 percent to 2.40 euros per square meter. The suburb of Melissia in northern Athens was found to have the steepest municipal tax as local authorities there charge local businesses 8.69 euros per square meter each year. EBEA wrote to all of Attica’s municipalities asking for their cooperation over tax rises but said that only the local authority in Lykovrisi in northern Athens replied. The chamber recommended that tax rises be kept in line with inflation and that the rates for each municipality be published on the Internet.

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