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August 2014: Greeks discover an ancient tomb and the property tax

This month, August of 2014 has been very important for Greece. The coalition government of Samaras-Venizelos – that is conservative Nea Dimokratia & socialist PASOK- has made two discoveries of great significance and priceless value  for millions of people, in and outside Greece.

In August 2014, Greece made two discoveries: the ancient Greek tomb and the unified property tax.

 A. Ancient Discovery

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras discovered an Ancient Greek tomb located in Amphipolis in central Macedonia. OK, I am exaggerating… The tomb was discovered several years ago and not by the Greek Prime Minister.  Antonis Samras did not made the excavation and discovery of the ancient tomb himself. The archaeologists did the hard work with excavation tools and precise surgery work consisting of digging and shoving. In fact the team of archaeologists have been working on the Amphipolis site since 2012.

But the Greek PM felt the urgent need to announce the fund to Greeks. On August 12th, Antonis Samaras visited the excavation site together with his wife, the Culture Minister and a bunch of local and national officials and heralded “it is certain that we are facing an extremely important finding.”

PM Samaras, wife, chief archaeologist at the tomb

Indeed. The ancient finding has a diameter of 590m and excavation have exposed so far a 3-metter-high perimeter wall pierced by a 2.5-meter wide road that leads to 13 marble steps. At the end of the steps are two stone sphinxes that guard the entrance of what it seems to be tomb. The ancient site is dated to 300BC that is the era of Alexander the Great.

As the archaeologists proceed with unprecedented care, they have not entered the tomb yet.

The great mystery is, of course: who has been buried inside the huge tomb. Certainly a person of great importance. But who is buried there?

The first scenario claimed the Amphipolis tomb is the grave of Alexander the Great. The second scenarios claimed to be the tomb of Alexander’s wife Roxanne and his son, Alexander the Fourth.

Other scenarios claimed that the site is the tomb of Alexander’s generals or whatever.

Some Greeks of the usual funny category, visioned a huge spaceship underneath the ancient earth. A starship that will finally scientifically confirm the otherwise baseless scenario that the original nation of Greeks- the EL – came from Sirius and therefore they were superior to the other nations.

Amphipolis Sirius

-What did they find in Amphipolis? – Of course, the starship that brought the EL from Sirius

B. Modern Property Tax

During the same blessed month of August 2014,  the Greek government discovered that the newly introduced Unified Property Tax (ENFIA) , not only contained absurd taxation on people who had just partial rights on properties. It also discovered that the algorithm calculations worked out by a team of experts at the Finance Ministry for almost two years contained also huge calculation mistakes.

For example: The owner of a plot of agricultural land (olive trees) that he was trying to sell for 20,000 euro got almost a hear attack when the FinMin experts calculated the value of his land plot for a little less than one million euro and demanded the relevant tax.

Greece’s National Observatory has been called by the FinMin to pay 5 million euro as property tax, although the National Observatory is not private property and is exempted from property tax.

A friend who has property rights on 150 sqm but the apartment belongs 100% to her mother was asked to pay 700 euro. In five or six or two-hundred-twenty installments. It doesn’t matter. The friend is jobless and she will probably die of financial distress before she even manages to gain full ownership of the apartment.

Samaras and FinMin calculate the property tax for Amphipolis

With this and that examples, the general outcry prompted the government to recalculate the property tax algorithm and calculation scheme, new ENFIA notifications are to be sent to property owners by September.

A + B

Amphipolis Sphinxes

Unidentified owners of Amphipolis tomb

As the announcement of two discoveries timely coincided, it was obvious for the majority of Greeks that the huge ancient tomb cannot and will not be exempted from the ENFIA property tax. Provided that the ownership is identified.

Samaras Alexander the Great

PM Samaras to Alexander the Great: Now seriously, you haven’t submitted any property declaration since 323 BC?

Property declaration or not, archaeologists have to enter the tomb first and then identify the ancient tax payer who thought he could escape the Troika and the Greek government.

Samaras on August 12th: “We will enter the tomb.”

As I write this post, neither Samaras nor the archaeologists have entered the tomb. The mystery remains unsolved – with or without property tax. Or because of it.


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