Renaming “meat into fish” does not change anything. It’s still meat. However, Greece’s coalition government leaders decided to invent a new formula how to keep collecting the “emergency property tax” which turns permanent after Troika pressures.
On Wednesday night, Prime minister Antonis Samaras and his coalition partners Evangelos Venizelos (PASOK) and Fotis Kouvelis (Democratic Left) agreed for a make up of the tax: to unify with with the regular property tax and keep collecting it via electricity bills.
The unify tax will combine all property taxes and could lead some property owners to pay 10-15% less in emergency property tax.
However its basis will be extended and it will include not only properties that receive elecricity but also farmland.
Yesterday I was listening to the conversation of two old men:
– They will tax our farmland, anything whether cultivated or not.
-Yes, I will delete all the land I own from my tax declaration.
-Me too. I have waste land on the mountain, in fact I never visit it. It’s from the grandfathers. Now I will have to pay for it? I don’t think so…
-Me too, me too. I will not declare all the land plots anymore. Leave it free to anyone who wants to claim it.
-Pay taxes for the bushes? Hahaha…
Kouvelis told reporters last night that “whoever won’t be willing to pay the unified tax to electricity company, he will be able to do so, but will be obliged to pay the tax directly to the tax office.”
Venizelos explained that the new arrangement – property tax via electricity- will be applied only for 2013 but as of 2014 it will be collected by tax offices.
The government partners’ decision has yet to be approved by the Troika, the representatives of international lenders form the EU, the IMF and the ECB. What finance minister Yiannis Stournaras keeps stressing is that the Troika insists of collecting the property taxes via eelectricity bills out of fear the tax won’t be collected.
The emergency property tax was first intoduced in 2011 and was supposedly to be collected for two years. Its collection through electricity bills, skyrocketed them with several hundreds of euro each month. And thus in times where the average household has been dried out of cash.
Not paying the full bill amount ends often in Public Power Company (DEH) cutting of electricity. “30,000 electricity outages per month,” said DEH CEO a couple of months ago.
Greece’s supreme court ruled in February 2012 that the levy would violate the Constitution if collected for more than two years. Therefore the government had to find a new formula.
The loan agreement foresees revenues of 3 billion euro per year from the property taxes alone.