Owners of Greek property hit with new tax from 2014

Australian citizens who own property in Greece could be forced to pay up to $2,000 a year in taxes, following the passing of a new, hugely unpopular property tax measure.

The new tax law, narrowly passed by the Greek Parliament (154 votes to 143) yesterday, requires that anyone who owns property in Greece will be forced to pay an annual tax levy of €1,000 to €1,500 a year.

The tax, set to begin in 2014, will be included in power bills, and failure to pay will result in the electricity being cut off.

Those who are unemployed will not have to pay the tax as long as they earn less than €12,000 a year ($16,500) and their home is not worth more than €150,000 ($205,000).

About 70% of Greeks own their own homes and have over €400 billion ($553 billion) invested in property, greater than the country’s sovereign debt of €350 billion ($480 billion).

Australia has one of highest population of Greek immigrants – the 2006 Census records 109,980 Greece-born migrants, and 365,145 people of Greek ancestry.

The measure is part of the Greek government’s efforts to reduce its debt burden and help convince the International Monetary Fund and European Union that it should receive an €8 billion loan needed to pay salaries and stave off bankruptcy.

The measure is hugely unpopular with reports that thousands of people are protesting in Athens, including Ministry of Finance employees outside their own offices.

Greece will receive a further $11 billion in bail-out money next month, without which it would entirely run out of money.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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