Stournaras shocks Greeks: Emergency Property Tax also in 2013

Posted by in Economy

Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras shocked Greeks on Thursday night, unofficially announcing that the emergency property tax will be collected also in 2013. “I suggested, the emergency property tax collected through electricity bills will have a milder form,” Stournaras told reporters in Brussels, however he refrained to elaborate how this ‘milder form’ would look like. Most likely, this empty phrase was rather said just to make the shock  ‘milder’.

The news shocked Greek property owners, as the E.P.T.was originally planned only for two years (2011 and 2012). Furthermore it charges monthly electricity bills with several hundreds euro making many households unable to pay their PPC-bills and thus risking to have electricity supply cut off.

With this decision, property owners in Greece will be formally cracked down in 2013, as will be called to pay also regular property tax (FAP) for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 – in one single calender year.

With all these taxes to be paid in one year, many owners will see themselves paying ‘monthly rent’ for living in their own homes that bring no revenues.

Violating the Constitution

Greece’s Supreme Court ruled in February 2012 that the E.P.T. would violate the Constitution should be extended for more than two years. Now Stournaras attempts to blatantly violate the Greek Constitution under the immense pressure of the Troika. Greek media reported beginning of the week, the justice suggests “E.P.T. via electricity bills in 2013 doe snot violate the Constitution.”

The E.P.T. was one of the issues where Greek government and the Troika disagreed upon on Thursday. The Troika targets revenues of 3.2 billion euro from property taxes in 2013.

The plans of Greek government to unify all property taxes in one have been postponed for 2014.

Samaras coalition government partners, PASOK and Democratif Left do not agree with the extension fo EPT.

Governments can hardly make plans, when the country is in the “rescue” mechanism of international lenders.

Stupidly enough, many Greeks seem to recall that Antonis Samaras had promised not to extend the EPT to 2013. But that was in the pre-elections time, before June 2012, when he was struggling to become prime minister.

PS I think I have to replug my euro printing machine….