NEWS

Tax spat over 2004 rentals

Olympics organizers’ plans to house thousands of visitors in rented Athens flats ran into new trouble yesterday with landlords warning that the government’s reported intentions to levy a 10-percent tax on rents would result in «a historical triumph for the black economy.» Reports yesterday said the Economy and Finance Ministry intends to impose a 10-percent tax on revenue from flats rented specially to people coming to Athens for the Games – down from initial plans for a 20-percent levy. Athens 2004 officials, on the other hand, were pressing for a 5-percent tax. A statement yesterday by the Greek Landlords’ Association (POMIDA) said the rents should be tax-free, as Athenians were being asked to help out the government for the Games. POMIDA added that, if taxed, most landlords would resort to unofficial channels to rent their flats, «thus destroying the Olympic hospitality program.» Meanwhile, yesterday International Olympic Committee officials said lower demand by 2004 sponsors could free up to 3,000 scarce hotel rooms for Olympic visitors.