Out of or­der

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS XYDAKIS

Dogged by de­lays, mod­i­fi­ca­tions and a great deal of am­bi­gu­ity, the sin­gle prop­erty tax, also known as ENFIA, has be­come syn­ony­mous with the Greek coali­tion gov­ern­ment’s in­con­sis­tent and in­ef­fec­tive poli­cies after 2010. ENFIA, which started out as an emer­gency tax, has had a heavy medium-term im­pact on peo­ple’s pri­vate as­sets as well as a psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect on the coun­try’s house­holds, many of which have seen their lifetime sav­ings go up in smoke. All that is lead­ing to ma­jor so­cial conse- quences which need to be re-ex­am­ined by the au­thor­i­ties as soon as pos­si­ble. Although of sec­ondary im­por­tance com­pared to the essence of the mat­ter, the formalities should not be ig­nored. Like other emer­gency taxes, ENFIA is be­ing im­ple­mented in a very in­con­sis­tent man­ner that makes it im­pos­si­ble for tax­pay­ers to man­age their spend­ing. The gov­ern­ment has not stopped wa­ver­ing since ENFIA was first in­tro­duced in 2011. Who pays? What for? Who is ex­empt and who gets a tax break? It took an en­tire sum­mer and half of the au­tumn to sort out. The au­thor­i­ties sent out no­ti­fi­ca­tions, then th­ese were frozen, then cor­rec­tions were made, fresh no­ti­fi­ca­tions were sent out, peo­ple started to pay their in­stall­ments, new clar­i­fi­ca­tions were made on how to cor­rect the E9 prop­erty tax form, then the gov­ern­ment passed an amend­ment in Par­lia­ment au­tho­riz­ing ENFIA pay­ments in 72-100 in­stall­ments – as with other out­stand­ing obli­ga­tions to the state. A sin­gle e-mail from Greece’s troika of for­eign lenders, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, was then enough to block the decision, forc­ing the gov­ern­ment to change the law. Ev­ery­thing is out of or­der. There was no rea­son to hu­mil­i­ate mem­bers of Par­lia­ment into vot­ing afresh. There was no rea­son for the gov­ern­ment to prom­ise some­thing it could not de­liver. The peo­ple are be­ing forced to pay un­fair and one-size-fits-all taxes. Why should they have to suf­fer due to the mis­takes of the coun­try’s leg­isla­tive as well as ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers?

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