Greece drops ghost property tax that refuses to go away

Greece drops ghost property tax (and then it comes back)

Property owners were scratching their heads on Monday, trying to figure out whether a three year old capital gains tax that has never implemented in the country, has been resurrected or not.

The confusion started when on Friday the government leaked to the press a copy of a draft bill introducing more austerity in order to clinch rescue funding for the country and open the way for a debt deal with creditors. It included a clause stating that a 15 percent capital gains tax on property will be dropped.

Despite being passed into law, this tax has never been actually implemented, haunting property owners amidst confusion as to whether it exists or not.

Greek government officials had decided against it implementation, concerned that it would deal a serious blow to the hard hit real estate market and perform poorly as a fund raiser for the state.

In Greece's last few annual budgets, the Finance Ministry kept announcing that the tax won't take effect but only after speculation and confusion every year in the market as to whether it will finally apply.

On Monday, the government published published the official version of the austerity bill - that had been leaked on Friday - but the clause dropping the tax....was gone.

Finance Ministry officials scrambled to clarify that this clause will be reinserted into the bill ahead of its vote on Thursday.

It is unclear as to why it was dropped over the weekend with some press reports saying that the country’s creditors had not signed off on it, forcing the Finance Ministry to withdraw it from the law.