In­her­i­tances re­nounced

Data show 86.4 per­cent hike in peo­ple giv­ing up prop­erty, land to avoid taxes

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

An in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple are turn­ing their backs on prop­er­ties they have in­her­ited to avoid pay­ing the higher taxes that ac­com­pany them, ac­cord­ing to new data from the coun­try’s courts which show that ap­pli­ca­tions for re­nun­ci­a­tion of prop­erty rose 86.4 per­cent last year com­pared to 2013.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est sta­tis­tics, which were made pub­lic yes­ter­day, a to­tal of 54,422 such ap­pli­ca­tions were lodged with the coun­try’s lo­cal courts last year, com­pared to 45,628 in 2015 and 29,199 in 2013.

Ex­perts at­tribute the rise to the tremen­dous in­crease in prop­erty taxes that suc­ces­sive govern­ments have im­posed over the years as part of bailout agree­ments with Greece’s cred­i­tors. Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig- ures, prop­erty own­ers paid seven times more in taxes last year com­pared to 2009, the year be­fore the cri­sis hit. In 2009, prop­erty taxes did not ex­ceed 500 mil­lion eu­ros, while rev­enue col­lected from prop­erty reached 3.5 bil­lion eu­ros last year.

Most of those who filed doc­u­ments last year to re­nounce their in­her­i­tance did so in the coun­try’s ma­jor cities, with 11,655 ap­pli­ca­tions recorded in Athens, 5,563 in Thes­sa­loniki, 1,938 in Pi­raeus and 1,473 in Pa­tra.

Peo­ple are not only giv­ing up fam­ily houses and apart­ments but also plots of lands.

Ac­cord­ing to Nikos Stasinopou­los, for­merly the head of the as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing Greek no­taries, many peo­ple in the prov­inces give up in­her­ited land even when the tax they would have to pay on it is rel­a­tively small. He of­fered the ex­am­ple of one ben­e­fi­ciary in the re­gion of Gorty­nia who gave up a plot on which he faced a 150-euro levy, and a sec­ond who in­her­ited a to­tal of 98 plots of land in the re­gion of Larissa from his fa­ther and aunt and was “re­lieved” to dis­cover that he could hand them over to the state to avoid pay­ing tax.

Left­ist SYRIZA came to power in 2015 on a pledge to roll back aus­ter­ity in all ar­eas, notably by re­vok­ing the much-re­viled uni­fied prop­erty tax which is known by its acro­nym ENFIA. How­ever, it has since in­di­cated that the hated tax must stay and might be tweaked at an un­spec­i­fied date.

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