NEWS

Parental property tax tweaked

A reworked version of controversial legislation that alters the tax on parental concessions of homes was tabled in Parliament yesterday, as the government appeared to backtrack on its previous, strongly criticized proposal. In an attempt to make up for what was generally accepted to be a political blunder, the bill submitted to the House yesterday actually reduced the tax payable on the majority of transfers of property from parents to children. The concession of any properties that have an officially assessed value of less than 300,000 euros will be taxed at a lower rate under the proposed law and any properties that are rated as being worth 150,000 euros or under will not be taxed at all. The previous tax-free threshold was 95,000 euros. However, the bill provides for a rise in tax on any homes that are valued at more than 310,000 euros. More specifically, homes under 300,000 euros will be taxed at 1 percent, properties worth between 300,000 and 600,000 euros will face a tax of 5 percent while a tax rate of 10 percent will apply to those worth more than 600,000 euros. PASOK had indicated since it came to power that it would change the tax rate for parental concessions. As a result, many parents, fearing they would soon have to pay more to transfer their homes to their children, rushed to tax offices to submit their paperwork. The government prompted the ire of homeowners as well as opposition parties when it sought to pass a surprise amendment last week, according to which any transfer of properties would be temporarily taxed at the existing rate but would then be subject to the new rate as soon as officials decided what it would be. This meant that parents faced an uncertain tax bill if they wanted to hand over ownership of property to their children. The Finance Ministry also acknowledged that tagging the amendment onto another bill gave the impression it was acting secretively.