More Greek Property Tax Bill Anxiety

ATHENS – While Greek authorities are trying to correct flawed property tax bills under a new system, taxpayers may have to make a double payment at the end of September.

The first installment due at the end of August under the unified ENFIAI tax – which includes a now-permanent surcharge – was pushed back to the end of September until officials could come up with new calculations to replace outdated data that resulted in many astronomical, and incorrect, bills.

Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the PASOK Socialist leader who serves Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Angonis Samaras’ coalition, had said the first payment would be pushed back, but now it’s uncertain whether that means taxpayers will have to pay two bills at once in September – and and which rate.

The chaos is common in Greece where tax assessments don’t change annually but often within the same year. Taxpayers whose property values have plummeted during a crushing economic crisis are finding their holdings assessed at far more than they’re worth, and at a higher tax rate, to bring in more revenues for the state.

The new – hopefully corrected – calculations, will be uploaded in the first half of September but officials couldn’t gie any guarantees, leaving taxpayers – including many in the Diaspora who have property in Greece – anxious about what their bills would be.

Officials said for now they are planning to send out a bill for one payment in September, out of six which are due. Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras will first have to assess the effect on cash flow if the payment schedule is extended to February, 2015.

After the end of the summer recess on August 25, the Finance Ministry will table an amendment correcting the excessive tax rates calculated in hundreds of districts across the country and then publish only the new corrected figures.

After September 15, and once all tax amounts due have been uploaded anew, the ministry’s Taxisnet application for property declarations (E9) will open for owners to correct any data if necessary.

New calculations will be made for these properties and any excess amounts paid will allegedly be deducted from the remaining installments although Greece is far behind in sending out tax refunds.