Po­lit­i­cal cost leads to ENFIA changes

Gov’t steps back from in­clud­ing farms in sup­ple­men­tary tax and from abol­ish­ing a num­ber of ex­emp­tions

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY SOTIRIS NIKAS

The govern­ment has in­tro­duced changes to the cal­cu­la­tion of the Sin­gle Prop­erty Tax (ENFIA), re­al­iz­ing that the po­lit­i­cal cost that would stem from the high levy im­posed on own­ers this year would ex­ceed the pe­cu­niary ben­e­fits of its col­lec­tion.

The Fi­nance Min­istry said yes­ter­day that a sup­ple­men­tary tax (con­cern­ing own­ers with prop­er­ties adding up to at least 200,000 eu­ros in ob­jec­tive value) will not fac­tor in farms af­ter all and also that a clause abol­ish­ing dis­counts for a num­ber of own­ers – and is cur­rently in a bill in Par­lia­ment – will be with­drawn.

The min­istry added that the ENFIA will be paid in five tranches this year, start­ing in Septem­ber and end­ing in Jan­uary 2017.

Rul­ing SYRIZA has suf­fered from in­ter­nal un­rest on the is­sue, as sev­eral deputies have ex­pressed their con­cern over the pos­si­bil­ity of thou­sands of taxpay­ers re­ceiv­ing par­tic­u­larly high ENFIA pay no­tices due to the changes and the in­clu­sion of farm­land in the sup­ple­men­tary tax sums.

The prob­lem took on a big­ger di­men­sion when the min­istry started mak­ing its test cal­cu­la­tions, which showed that many prop­erty own­ers would in­deed have to pay far more than in pre­vi­ous years. How­ever, those tests also showed that the payable sum for the ENFIA and its sup­ple­men­tary tax would come to 3.5 bil­lion eu­ros, while last year it amounted to 3.24 bil­lion. This in- crease year-on-year comes from the fact that the tax-free thresh­old in the sup­ple­men­tary tax has dropped to 200,000 eu­ros from 300,000 eu­ros up to 2015, while tax rates have been raised and farm­land has also come in.

That cush­ion of al­most 300 mil­lion eu­ros, com­bined with the an­tic­i­pated po­lit­i­cal cost, led the govern­ment to a num­ber of changes. The farm­land was ex­cluded at the eleventh hour from the sup­ple­men­tary tax cal­cu­la­tion on the pre­text of “a mul­ti­tude of er­rors ob­served in the dec­la­ra­tions by cit­i­zens, who in the next pe­riod will be asked to cor­rect their state­ments,” the min­istry an­nounced.

The ex­emp­tions from the ENFIA will re­main ex­actly as they were last year, thereby abol­ish­ing the clause that waived the dis­count for own­ers with tak­ings from bank in­ter­est of more than 300 eu­ros per year. The ex­emp­tion is also re­stored for the un­em­ployed, fam­i­lies with four or more chil­dren and in­di­vid­u­als with a dis­abil­ity of 80 per­cent or over.

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