The Ministry of Finance announced on September 11, 2011 that a special tax or ‘xaratsi’ would be assessed to all properties in Greece, raising an estimated €2-3 billion to qualify for the next bailout tranche and avert default.
Original rates of €0.50 to €10.00 were doubled three days later to €0.50 to €20.00 under the assumption that many people will not pay, though the government was advised to keep rates low to increase the likelihood of payment.
The emergency tax — called Εκτακτο Ειδικό Τέλος Ηλεκτροδοτούµενων ∆οµηµένων Επιφανειών (ΕΕΤΗ∆Ε)/Entakto Eidikio Telos Ilektrodotoumenon Domimenon Epifaneion (EETIDE) — affects approximately 5.1 million properties and
lasts two years will be applied though 2013 for the foreseeable future, with rates climbing progressively higher as property values are adjusted. The first adjustment occurred in June 2012.
Parliament passed the bill on September 27, law 4021/2011 was published October 19, and amendments were made October 20, December 1, December 16 in 2011; February 3, March 2, May 25 and July 18 in 2012.
On December 4, a court deemed it illegal to assess and collect property tax on electric bills, and the next day DEH confirmed that it is accepting payment of electricity bills minus the tax. However, on December 19 and after several hearings, an Athens court ruled in favor of the Ministry of Finance that DEH continue to bill and collect money through March 2013 and Greece’s creditors agree it should be left ‘as is’ until 2014.
A bill to merge EETIDE and regular property tax (FAP) into a single tax called Ενιαίος Φόρος Ακινήτων/Eniaios Foros Akiniton, with revised thresholds to simplify billing and collection by tax authorities, reached agreement in February 2013 and will be debated in June, then take effect January 1, 2014.
A motion to adjust objective property values to reflect market reality, which would have lowered taxation rates for 2013, was discussed and failed. For many owners, this will cancel any 15 percent discount on EETIDE.
*Article last updated on May 15, 2013. Comments reflect whatever laws were in effect at the time, and there is one update pending.
- Who is exempt
- Who pays how much and when
- Penalties for non-payment
- How the property tax is invoiced on a real-life electricity bill.
Who must pay
Nearly all persons who own commercial or residential property in Greece. Country of citizenship and whether or not they live in Greece are irrelevant.
It is not a ‘wealth tax,’ as Forbes and Telegraph UK called it. The tax applies to all property owners, regardless of property value and income tax filing status. Thousands of unemployed and low-income families will be required to pay this tax at the same rates required of wealthy elite.
Property owners will pay the emergency tax, unless they or their properties are exempt.
– Churches, monasteries and other religious buildings defined as places of worship and religious services; but not other residential or commercial properties owned by the Greek Church, one of the country’s largest landowners
– State-owned properties
– Non-profit and charitable organizations that use the property exclusively for a religious, artistic, educational or social needs purpose
– Amateur athletic clubs, associations and federations, which have been legally recognized as sporting facilities
– Cemeteries, public burial places
– Historical or archaeological monuments
– Empty, abandoned, disused commercial property with no evident electricity supply. Empty residential property does not qualify.
Electricity bills for communal areas of apartment buildings are excluded, so koinochrista or common expenses are unaffected. Hotel and camping communal areas are said to reduce the tax by 35 percent, rented rooms by 17 percent, and industrial buildings will be charged 30 percent and 60 percent less on surface areas above 1000 sq. meters and 2000 sq. meters, respectively.
– Tenants renting or leasing a home: Tax will be assessed through the electricity bill, but anyone renting an apartment or house can pay the bill as scheduled and then deduct the amount of rent normally paid or work out an alternative plan with the owner/landlord. It does not matter whose name is on the electric bill.
The property owner(s) must be living in/on the property as their primary residence to be eligible for an exemption and, under most conditions, have properties meeting the criteria listed in the section called, ‘Qualifying properties’:
– Persons jobless for a period equal to one year or more and not receiving unemployment benefits from any fund, with a declared income of 8,000 euros or less on their 2010 tax filing
– Persons jobless for at least six (6) of the last 12 months preceding the date of the electricity/tax bill, who are registered with any unemployment fund and have a total income of less than 12,000 euros on the 2011 tax filing (+ 4,000 euros for each dependent). Must have been unemployed on September 17 to qualify.
– Persons who are legally blind
– Pensioners under 55 years of age who completed 35 years of work in a heavy and hazardous profession
– Unemployed seafarers registered with GENE and retired seafarers with Ναυτικό Απομαχικό Ταμείο
OAED Card — Image may not be reused
The lowest rate of €0.50 per square meter is assessed if the property qualifies (see next section) and one of the following applies to the property owner or taxpayer:
- Large family (four* or more children)
with a declared income of less than 30,000 euros annually(income level scrapped on February 3); or
- Person with at least 80 percent physical disability; or
- Person with at least 67 percent disability from cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome or another mental disability.
The blind were moved to the fully exempt list in amendments passed October 20, 2011.
*Kathimerini English said three children; government circular and all other sources said four children.
In order for owners listed under ‘Exempt persons’ and ‘Reduced rate’ to qualify for an exemption or lower tax rate, the property must also be:
a) Equal or less than 120 sq. meters + 20 sq. meters for each child, with a limit of 200 sq. meters;
b) worth less than 150,000 euros + 10,000 euros for each dependent, according to 2008 data;
c) located in areas where property values (zone rates) are less than €3,000 per sq. meter.
Surface area in excess of 200 sq. meters will be taxed at a higher rate.
How to claim an exemption or low tax rate
The first installment of the emergency tax for properties with an electricity connection was calculated and billed via power companies under the assumption that there were no exemptions and no persons qualifying for the lower rate. Therefore, everyone is expected to pay, then apply for a refund.
To apply for a refund and record an exemption or reduced tax rate on future invoices, the owner must file an application at the Greek tax office/eforia (DOY), a copy of the electricity bill (if relevant), proof of payment, certification/pistopoiitiko of blindness/disability (if applicable), a property tax statement (ΦΑΠ/FAP) for 2011 (companies/entities) or an ekkatharistiko ETA for 2008 or a contract of sale (individuals) if property was acquired after January 1, 2008. Taxpayers who did not file taxes electronically with GSIS may be asked for additional documents.
The tax office/eforia (DOY) will crosscheck the application and documents with tax statements filed with GSIS and other authorities to verify that the owner and property qualifies, then accept or reject the application. If accepted, the tax will be adjusted on future invoices and a refund issued.
DEH/PPC customers who may be eligible for the lowest rate of taxation or an exemption were given three days notice to send ETA, AFM (tax number) and DEH account numbers via sms to ’54160′ by October 2, 2011. Ignoring that the blind and financially challenged cannot send sms, Eleftherotypia reported the Ministry of Finance disseminated a number belonging to TV station and another subscriber. It still lists this number in official documentation, and it is unclear whether the Greek government has since taken possession of 54160 or is ignorant and did not edit the circular.
How much tax will I pay?
How much you pay depends on three factors, which are shown in the same order of the electricity bill’s dedicated ΕΕΤΗ∆Ε/EETIDE box:
1. Size of property (TM)
Total area is defined as all declared areas with electricity supplied, including parking garages, storage rooms or balconies. Basically, the Τέλους Ακίνητης Περιουσίας (ΤΑΠ)/Telous Akinitis Periousias (TAP) deemed taxable according to Article 24 of Law 2130/1993.
The size of your property in square meters (m²/µ²) or τετράγωνο μέτρα (τμ) is listed on electric bills of all power companies. For DEH/PPC customers, on the same page as the perforated payment coupon, it is the number under ‘τμ’ in the first box.
2. Age of property
Properties between 0-25 years old will be assessed an extra surcharge of 5-25 percent, inversely proportional to age (skip this section if your property is older than 25 years). The newer the property, the higher the percentage; the older the property, the lower the percentage. In tables published by the Ministry of Finance and Greek news, the percentage is expressed as a coefficient for multiplication purposes.
|Age (Years)||Multiplier||Surcharge (%)|
|26 & older||1||None|
As 64 percent of properties in Greece are more than 25 years old and only 2 percent built in the last five years, the surcharge is said to target those who can afford to pay.
3. Location of property
Properties in Greece are assigned a zone rate or Τιμή ζώνης (timi zonis) according to location, with minimum and maximum values expressed in euros and square meters, i.e., €1,800 per sq. meter. Eleftherotypia compiled tables that show a range for areas of Athens, Macedonia/Thrace and other areas of Greece on the islands and mainland (in Greek). The actual zone rate for a property is determined by street and exact location, which can be verified at the Greek tax office nearest the property.
The zone rate of your property will determine how many euros you will be charged per square meter.
To find the zone rate for your property, look for ΤΙΜΗ ΖΩΝΗΣ on the electric bill. For DEH/PPC customers, on the same page as the perforated payment coupon, the first box lists it under ΤΕΛΟΣ ΑΚΙΝΗΤΗΣ ΠΕΡΙΟΥΣΙΑΣ (ΤΑΠ).
|Zone rate||Euros per sq. meter|
|For vulnerable group||0.50|
|5001 and up||16|
How is it calculated?
Number of square meters × ___ surcharge based on age of property (if applicable) × € ___ (based on zone rate)
For example: If your property in Halandri is 80 square meters, it’s 20 years old and the zone rate is €2000 per sq. meter, then the property tax calculation would be:
80 × 1.05 × €6.00 = €504 for the year 2011.
Property values (times zonis) for 2012 and beyond will be adjusted higher, which will change the calculation and increase the amount of tax owed. So property owners can expect to pay progressively more each year, and this article will be updated to assist you.
If your property is in an area where no zone rates have been set, the property tax is calculated: Number of square meters × 3. For example: If your property on Chios has no zone rate and it’s 100 sq. meters, then the property tax calculation would be 100 × 3 = 300 euros.
How it appears on your bill
Property owners and their tenants (if applicable) will immediately recognize if the electricity bill contains property tax because the abbreviation Ε.Ε.Τ.Η.Δ.Ε. will show in several places (pink circles in photo).
The main calculation can be found in a box on the right hand side marked Ε.Ε.Τ.Η.Δ.Ε. + year and appears in the same order I gave in the explanation and example above: Size of property + Age of property (if applicable) + Location of property (based on ΤΙΜΗ ΖΩΝΗΣ/zone rate).
On the electricity bill, it says: TM × ΣΥΝΤ.ΠΡΟΣ × ΣΥΝΤ.ΕΕΤΗΔΕ = Total for the Year
Underneath, it specifies the installment or ΔΟΣΗ.
*Photo of electric bill with property tax has been highlighted with corresponding colors, so readers can locate each element without knowledge of Greek. Some info has been removed for reasons of privacy.
When can I expect a bill?
Most property owners will be invoiced for the tax via electricity bills.
- Two installments in 2011: First ΔΟΣΗ began billing October 2011 and the second before February 2012 to show revenue on the books for 2011.
fourinstallments in 2012: Billing from end of July 2012 to March/April 2013 April 2012 to January 2013 May to December.
DEH/PPC, with a capacity to print 190,000 statements a day, said that the entire first cycle began mid-October 2011 and was complete by end of November. In reality, bills were arriving well into December.
Anyone who does not have power supplied by an electric company in Greece, or anyone who tried disconnecting electricity after September 17, 2011 in an attempt to avoid the tax, will be billed directly by the tax office at whatever address the property owner gave as their last known address.
By 2013, the tax may replace the main property tax and be invoiced differently.
Not on DEH/PPC bills, April-June 2012
DEH/PPC stopped accepting responsibility for the property tax (EETIDE), which I learned on April 6, 2012. No announcements were made by DEH/PPC, the government or Greek news.
Those who already paid the last installment of property tax could let it stand as an overpayment/credit on the next electricity bill or get a refund from the cashier. Those who had not paid the last installment were told to only pay the electricity portion owed. (*Anyone who never knew they had a choice will see a credit on their electricity bill and may owe money to the eforia for the last 2011 installment of the EETIDE).
If the bill was not in our name, or jointly connected to someone else, we needed: a) a copy of the lease/rental agreement and a dilosi from the named person (i.e., landlord, previous tenant) to get our money back; or b) to ask the landlord(s)/previous tenant(s) to get the money.
The EETIDE should be paid at the tax office/eforia.
Finally on May 5, To Vima reported that the ‘xaratsi’ had moved to the tax office, followed by the remainder of news agencies 10 days later. DEH/PPC made an announcement in June and quoted the effective date as April 30, though in reality it started almost a month earlier. Mainstream English-language newspapers spread misinformation that the property tax had been abandoned.
In June there was talk that EETIDE would be billed by the tax office and could be paid at banks, but the Ministry of Finance admitted it may not have the most up-to-date information in its database and it could take 12 months to be ready.
It was decided on July 18 that the property tax would continue to be invoiced on electricity bills, with five 2012 installments beginning end of July.
Errors and Corrections
Whether your bill is correct depends on the accuracy of property details, zone rates and your official status on file at tax offices as of September 17, 2011, plus harmonization between the tax authority and power company. Errors are not necessarily the fault of the power company or tax office, as property owners/taxpayers, builders and engineers are responsible for any data and updates reported to the state.
Anyone who believed the property age/measurement or zone rate was incorrect had to pay the bill by the stated due date, then submit an application to correct errors at local municipality offices by January 20, 2012.
Corrections forwarded to the power company were applied by March 31, 2012 and reflected as a refund in the April 2012 installment.
Where do I pay?
You pay the electricity bill as you normally would.
What happens if I do not pay?
The law as written stated that anyone not paying the property tax would have power cut, but several amendments were made and a high court has since intervened. In a word, waffling.
- The original DEH/PPC policy says interruption of service can occur in 44 days — 30 days past the original due date of the ‘Ekkatharistiko’ (top right corner) and 14 days to pay after a courtesy ‘final’ notice. If your electricity is disconnected at the 60-day mark, the power company will inform the Ministry of Finance and you will be required to obtain a certificate from tax authorities that you paid the property tax before applying for a new connection anywhere.
- A several-times revised government circular says you have
80 days6 months to pay before power is cut, then 20 days to make amends and apply for reconnection of electricity. Delinquencies are reported by DEH at the four-month mark to the Ministry of Finance, which can then give the homeowner another two months to pay before ordering disconnection.
- Exempt from power cuts — Persons at the address who:
a) can show evidence of a specific health problem necessitating continuous electricity (i.e., terminally ill, patients using machines at home, etc.);
b) have no assets except the one property and can show proof of this;
c) can prove there is another legitimate hardship.
for a, b, c — Get approval by submitting an application at a tax office/eforia
, a social worker and local police representative(excluded) or apply online for this exemption at: www1.gsis.gr/taxisnet2/eta
Power cuts on 20,000 of 250,000 households that did not pay the tax by the 80-day deadline or apply for an exemption began January 23, 2012, starting with properties with the highest value per square meter. It was expected that up to 500,000 households would have electricity discontinued due to non-payment and no notification of hardship on file.
When harsh winter weather became an issue, the Ministry of Finance halted disconnections. On May 25, the Council of State upheld that the tax was legal, but disconnections were unconstitutional.
Today’s non-payment policy
On March 2, the Council of State ruled that power cuts due to non-payment of property tax are unconstitutional. No one is under threat of losing power for non-payment of the property tax, but disconnection is still possible for those not paying the electric portion of their bills.
Anyone having trouble paying the bill can appeal to the tax office/eforia/DOY to reduce the tax or arrange a custom payment schedule, according to a government circular. All outstanding property tax debts will continue to appear on future invoices and be referred to the tax office for further action.
The Ministry of Finance will garnish wages and pensions and/or seize and auction properties to pay outstanding tax debts. This is legal.
Have a question?
This article was provided as a courtesy, which required several hours of my unpaid time to translate, compile, research, write and update from 1500 to 3000 words after several amendments.
Please remember that I am a journalist, not a tax accountant, lawyer, inheritance expert, DEH/PPC employee, real estate agent or civil engineer. There is no way for me to learn thousands of complicated and ever-changing tax laws of countries worldwide, then apply them to your specific situation and property.
Readers are free to leave questions, but I prefer you query the appropriate authorities, an accountant or a lawyer.
Tax offices: See, “List of DOY/eforia/tax offices in Greece.” The GSIS call center also takes inquiries at + 30 (210) 480-2552.
DEH: Power company offices: See, “DEH/PPC Electric company offices in Greece.” Special hotline has been set up at +30 (214) 214-1000.
Unemployment/Manpower Agency offices: See, “OAED offices in Greece”
Thanks to CNN and the Miami Herald for featuring my article in “Europe’s pain is coming America’s way.”
None were used for my article, but all were included for English-speaking readers
“Greece raises rates on new property tax” (article removed) — WSJ
“Facts about property tax” — Kathimerini *Now outdated
“Property values expected to jump 30 percent in 2012” — Kathimerini
“Embattled Greeks plan legal action over property tax” — Sky News
“Greek government warned to keep rates low” — Kathimerini
“Greek property tax a band-aid, not a cure” — Reuters
“Greek money running out amid opposition to new tax” — Reuters
“Greeks ask: Why all the suffering?” — BBC
“Greeks balk at paying property tax” — NY Times
“Tax to be billed differently?” — Kathimerini
“Greek property tax take suggests targets will be met” — Reuters
“Greeks take a stand against property tax” — BBC
“Greek high court says property tax on electric bills is constitutional, but power cuts are not” — AP
“Greek property owners in Bulgaria reminded to pay tax” — Novinite
“Tax cut from PPC bills” — Kathimerini
“At the core of Greek chaos, a reviled tax” — WSJ
“Tax enters power bills” — Kathimerini
“Το «μπάλωμα» ανοίγει νέες τρύπες” (Chart) — Eleftherotypia
“Νέα τροπολογία για το τέλος ακινήτων” — SKAI
“ΓΕΝΟΠ: Δεν θα κόψουμε το ρεύμα σε όποιον δεν έχει μία” — Eleftherotypia
“Επιδρομή πανικού στα ακίνητα για 5,4 δισ. ευρώ σε 2 έτη” — Eleftherotypia
“Μέσα σε 3 μέρες διπλασίασαν το χαράτσι!” (Chart) — Eleftherotypia
“ΤΙΜΕΣ ΖΩΝΗΣ” — ΥΠΑΝ
“Ολόκληρη η τροπολογία για το ειδικό τέλος ακινήτων” kai PDF — Ta Nea
“Το ειδικό τέλος ακινήτων θα οδηγήσει σε λουκέτα, τονίζουν οι ξενοδόχοι” (article removed) — Ta Nea
“13 ερωτήσεις- απαντήσεις για το χαράτσι” — Ta Nea
“Πώς υπολογίζεται το ειδικό τέλος στα ακίνητα” — Ta Nea
“ΔΕΗ: Στις αρχές Οκτωβρίου οι λογαριασμοί με το νέο τέλος ακινήτων” — To Vima
“Εκτακτη εισφορά: Διπλάσιο το χαράτσι για τα ακίνητα” (Chart) — To Vima
“Ακίνητα: Εισφορά με δύο δόσεις και είκοσι κλιμάκια“– Naftemporiki
“Νέες δυσκολίες στην είσπραξη τέλους βλέπει η ΓΕΝΟΠ” — Eleftherotypia
“Κατασχέσεις σε περιπτώσεις μη καταβολής τέλους ακινήτων” — Kathimerini
“Κατασχέσεις μισθών, συντάξεων, περιουσιακών στοιχείων αν δεν εξοφληθεί το ειδικό τέλος” — Imerisia
“Ολα για το χαράτσι ακινήτων και ΔΕΗ: είσπραξη, διακοπή ρεύματος, επανασύνδεση” — Eleftherotypia
“Κατασχέσεις σε περιπτώσεις μη καταβολής τέλους ακινήτων” — Kathimerini
“Σε όλους θα αποστέλλεται ο ειδικός φόρος για τα ακίνητα” — SKAI
“SMS to 54160” — Ministry of Finance
“Article 53” — Hellenic Parliament
“Μαγειρεύουν μονιμοποίηση στο νέο χαράτσι για τα ακίνητα” — Eleftherotypia
“Τέλος εφ’ όρου ζωής στα ακίνητα” — Eleftherotypia
“Ερχονται τα χαράτσια για τα ακίνητα” — To Vima
“Eξαίρεση τυφλών και κινητικά αναπήρων από το ειδικό τέλος ακινήτων” — Eleftherotypia
“Λάθη με υπερχρεώσεις στα χαράτσια της ΔΕΗ” — Eleftherotypia
“Παροχή οδηγιών και διευκρινίσεων για την εφαρμογή του άρθρου 53
του ν. 4021/2011, December 2011” — SKAI
“Ποιοι πληρώνουν – ποιοι εξαιρούνται από το «xαράτσι» των ακινήτων” — To Vima
“Πώς θα διορθωθούν τα λάθη στο χαράτσι της ΔΕΗ” — Eleftherotypia
“Στον έφορο για απαλλαγές” — Ta Nea
“Αυξήσεις των αντικειμενικών τιμών από Ιούνιο προβλέπει το Μνημόνιο” — Ta Nea
“ΣτΕ: Ναι στο χαράτσι, όχι στη διακοπή ρεύματος” — Ta Nea
Amendment from March 2, 2012 — To Vima
“Το «χαράτσι» του ’11 μετακομίζει στις εφορίες” — To Vima
“ΣτΕ: «Ναι» στο χαράτσι της ΔΕΗ, «όχι» στη διακοπή ρεύματος” — To Vima
“Στους λογαριασμούς της ΔΕΗ που θα αποσταλούν στο τέλος Ιουλίου η πρώτη δόση” — Ta Nea
“ΔΕΗ: Προχωρά κανονικά στην είσπραξη του τέλους ακινήτων” — To Vima
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