Greece to update property tax values in May

Greece to update property tax values in May

Greece is expected to update property values used by authorities to determine 21 real estate taxes by the end of May, according to Finance Ministry officials.

The property values, often referred to as objective values, form the basis on which the tax office charges property, with the main levy being the Enfia property tax.

They are being updated to bring them closer to market prices, which have fallen more than 40 percent amidst Greece's eight year economic downturn.

Not all objective prices, however, will be revised lower. Finance Ministry officials estimate that about half of the property values in the 10,000 districts being reviewed across Greece could go up, dragging with them all applicable taxes. Most of the increases will be between 10 to 15 percent, officials said.

Despite the slump in the broader sector, prices have gone up in pockets of the market, such as Greek islands, due to demand from the strong tourism market and buying from foreigners looking to clinch a residency permit Greece offers foreign investors.

After getting off to a slow start, Greece is now scrambling to complete the updating of objective values in line with commitments to international lenders - the International Monetary Fund and eurozone nations. Greece is hoping to wind up quickly the next review of the Greek economy by lenders that will start in mid May.

Finance Ministry officials are keeping a close eye on the impact the new objectives values will have on the Enfia tax, that raises Greece 3.2 billion euros every year. Any drop in revenues for state coffers will have to be offset by a change in the Enfia tax formula so that the Greek government will still raise the 3.2 billion euros every year.

Finance Ministry officials have indicated that this is unlikely and that minor changes are expected. Property market experts, however, are concerned that the impact from the new objective values will be large and will hurt the hard hit market.