Greece Wants Estate Owners to Pay

Greek estate

As it deliberates whether to lift a ban on mortgage foreclosures to let banks confiscate the homes of people who can’t pay during a crushing economic crisis, the Greek government is moving ahead with a plan to raise property taxes on estates and mansions although some lawmakers are opposed to going after the rich.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, who said that despite huge increases that Greeks – whose pay is being cut and pensions slashed – don’t pay enough taxes, said he now wants to target the elite too”.

The government is stuck over whether to unify property taxes and incorporate big hikes that have led to them being increased 800 percent over the past few years as international lenders have pressed for more revenues to be brought in as part of austerity measures in return for $325 billion in two bailouts.

Negotiations with envoys from the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) are due to be resumed over long-delayed reforms and how to close a hole in the 2014 budget with the lenders holding back a one billion euro ($1.37 billion) installment until a deal is reached.

Also on the table is the plan to raise property tax on estates worth more than 300,000 euros ($400,000) as he country’s politicians, the rich and tax cheats continue to largely escape sacrifice and have strong support in the ruling New Democracy Conservatives.

Stournaras tiold the newspaper To Vima he’s determined to forge ahead anyway. “The time has come to make the ‘landlords’ of Ekali pay,” he told the newspaper, in reference to a chic Athens suburb. The finance ministry hopes to obtain 2.6 billion euros from the tax measure.