Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Greek property tax

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.

A bill to merge EETIDE and regular property tax (FAP) into a single tax, formerly Ενιαίος Φόρος Ακινήτων/Eniaios Foros Akiniton (ENFA) and now called Ενιαίος Φόρος Ιδιοκτησίας Ακινήτων/Enaios Foros Idiokthsias Akiniton (ΕNΦΙΑ or ENFIA), with revised thresholds to simplify billing and collection by tax authorities, reached agreement in February 2013, was voted into law on December 21 and took effect January 1, 2014.

A motion to adjust objective property values to reflect market reality and not inflated values of 10 years ago, which would have lowered taxation rates for 2013, was discussed and failed. For many owners, this will cancel any 15 percent discount on EETIDE from July 2013.

*Article last updated on September 1, 2014. Comments reflect whatever laws were in effect at the time, and there are two updates pending.

Summary

Article explains:

  • 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.

*It has been plagiarized by lawyers, accountants, expat INFO guides and property management companies. Be careful who you trust.

 

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.

Exemptions

Property owners will pay the emergency tax, unless they or their properties are exempt.

Exempt properties
— 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
— Embassies/consulates
— Non-profit and charitable organizations that use the property exclusively for a religious, artistic, educational or social needs purpose
— Factories
— 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.

Exempt persons
— 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

Reduced rate

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.

Qualifying properties

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;
AND
b) worth less than 150,000 euros + 10,000 euros for each dependent, according to 2008 data;
AND
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
20-25 1.05 5
15-19 1.1 10
10-14 1.15 15
5-9 1.2 20
0-4 1.25 25

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
0-500 3
501-1000 4
1001-1500 5
1501-2000 6
2001-2500 8
2501-3000 10
3001-4000 12
4001-5000 14
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

Click to view — Image may not be reused

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.
  • Five four installments 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.

For 2013-2014, this special tax will be combined with the main property tax and billed as a uniform tax. It has already been agreed that five installments will be invoiced via electricity bills.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Past laws

  • 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’ diakopi/disconnection 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 days 6 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.);
    OR
    b) have no assets except the one property and can show proof of this;
    OR
    c) can prove there is another legitimate hardship.
    AND
    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.

Those who did not pay the 2012-2013 installments by June 21 were forwarded to the Ministry of Finance for collection and must clear outstanding debts at a tax office.

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 190+ countries worldwide, then apply them to your specific situation, citizenship, residency status and property.

Readers are free to leave questions, but you should 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

Sources

Thanks to CNN and the Miami Herald for featuring my article in “Europe’s pain is coming America’s way.”

In the News

Beware promises of ‘cheap’ property in Greece” — Telegraph

In English

None were used for my article, but all were included for English-speaking readers
Unemployed reconnect electricity illegally” — Bloomberg
“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

In Greek
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

The Author

Kat is a well-traveled American journalist and author. To learn more, see “About Me.”

  • Livingingreece.gr was created in 2007 to present meticulously researched original articles that fill a gap left by traditional media, government portals and commercial websites/forums run by people without credentials.
  • @LivinginGreece is a Twitter feed curated from recognized Greek and international news agencies to provide breaking news about Greece, plus real-time updates and insider tips mined from 15 years experience.

Please note my copyright policy and be aware that violations will be pursued.

Shortlink: http://bit.ly/GRproperty

Update pending
http://www.tovima.gr/finance/article/?aid=512563
http://www.naftemporiki.gr/news/cstory.asp?id=2228180
http://www.tovima.gr/finance/article/?aid=472413
http://www.imerisia.gr/article.asp?catid=26516&subid=2&pubid=112915227
http://www.tovima.gr/finance/article/?aid=474953
http://www.imerisia.gr/article.asp?catid=27686&subid=2&pubid=112922540
http://www.tovima.gr/society/article/?aid=486971
http://www.tanea.gr/oikonomia/article/?aid=4773168
http://www.tovima.gr/finance/article/?aid=487353
http://www.tovima.gr/finance/article/?aid=521274
http://www.tovima.gr/finance/article/?aid=531211
http://www.naftemporiki.gr/finance/story/723343
http://www.naftemporiki.gr/finance/story/729848
http://www.tovima.gr/finance/article/?aid=548897

139 Comments

  Kat wrote @ November 16th, 2011 at 21:14

Answer 1
Doesn’t matter if you live in South Africa, doesn’t matter how old the buildings are, doesn’t matter how often you visit Greece or what your income is. If you own these buildings, you pay the property tax unless you qualify an exemption listed above.

If you cannot pay, the electricity will be shut off — if it is connected — and the tax office will take possession of your properties to pay off the debt. That’s the law.

Answer 2
No problem. Please take care.

  David wrote @ November 25th, 2011 at 15:03

Comment 1
Hello, Kat.

I have a question to which I think only you may be able to provide an answer! I have searched high and low for the solution, but simply cannot find one.

The riddle is this:

Evangelos Venizelos has said Greece will need 80 billion euros of the second bailout loan of 130 billion by the end of January 2012.

But I don’t see how that can be when we know that if or when the 6th tranche of the first bailout loan of 110 billion is actually delivered to Athens there will be 48 billion remaining “in the kitty” from the first bailout.

My record of the tranches is as follows:

1st tranche (May 2010) 20 billion.
2nd tranche (July 2010) 9 billion.
3rd tranche (Nov 2010) 9 billion.
4th tranche (March 2011) 4 billion.
5th tranche (July 2011) 12 billion.
6th tranche (? 2011) 8 billion.
Total: 62 billion.

110 billion minus 62 billion
= 48 billion remaining after 6th tranche.

I can think of only two solutions:

1. 48 billions’ worth was delivered to Athens prior to “the first tranche” and so is no longer “in the kitty”. Is that so?

2. Between the release of the 6th tranche of the first bailout and Venizelos requiring 80 billion from the 2nd bailout in January 2012, further tranches totalling 48 billion need to be delivered to Athens in late December and early January.

Kat, if you can shed any light on this at all, could you please email me?

Or, if you can’t work it out either, could you just drop me a line saying “Nope! Flummoxed as well!” 🙂

Many thanks.
David.

Comment 2
Kat, thanks very much indeed for that response!

It could well be then that when Venizelos made that statement about needing 80 billion of the second bailout early hext year he hadn’t considered the figures – the tranches received so far and the tranches to come.

So let’s just go with the expectation that after the sixth tranche 48 billion will still remain in the first bailout-kitty for dishing out in future tranches!

We’ll have an idea of whether this assumption is correct or not once we all start to hear of drama surrounding “the seventh tranche”! 🙂

Best Wishes,
David.
A Kiwi in England.

Comment 3
HiKat.

I now have the answer to the puzzle. An official of the Bank of Greece has advised me that the first bailout loan of 110 billion is to consist of 12 tranches, and indeed there will be about 40 billion left to be tranched.

So if we marry this info with what Venizelos recently declared it seems that he believes the other 6 tranches are all going to have to come at one time along with a good chunk of the 130 billion of the 2nd bailout loan!

But no one’s talking about this drama yet – from what I can see. I guess there’s enough to be getting on with! But it looks like drama there will be!

Best Wishes,
David.

Kat Reply:

Hi David,

Answer 1
I’m flattered you think I could be the only to help you figure this out, but I’m sure my friends at WSJ are far more qualified.

There are 15 questions in the queue, a dozen updates to articles and 10 plagiarism claims that will take me hours to sort out, thus preventing me from publishing new material again this week and spending time to research your excellent inquiry and email you the answer.

Two things I can tell you off the top of my head:
a) There were no tranches before the first in May 2010.
b) Venizelos is a lawyer and has absolutely no education or real experience in economics or finance, so he depends heavily on advisers, which may explain why his policies and figures are muddled. His appointment was largely political; Giorgos Papakonstantinou was far more equipped to handle the job, not to mention credible and well-respected amongst other finance ministers in the EU.

Answer 2
I understand the 7th tranche of 89 billion will be needed in February or March of 2012, which is (supposedly) 8 billion from the original program and 80 billion from the new program. And the 8th tranche will be 125 billion, according to figures published in To Vima.

Wishing you all the best.

Answer 3
Hi David,

Thank you for coming back to share that information, which is similar, though not as detailed as what I said in Answer 2.

If memory serves me correctly, Shakespeare’s MacBeth has fewer acts and (dare I say) less tragedy than Greece has bailout tranches. 😉

All best.

  Michael wrote @ November 28th, 2011 at 01:53

Very informative! Thank you very much. It helped a lot.

  Freddie wrote @ December 6th, 2011 at 18:55

Our house is 200squ/ms which is declaired to the tax office. However, on the electricity bill the size is quoted as only 68squ/ms.

Should I correct this, and will I pay a penalty for it being incorrect?

Kat Reply:

It’s your decision to have it corrected or find out why there is a discrepancy. I cannot advise people on how to handle their private affairs.

  Aristos wrote @ December 10th, 2011 at 14:45

Thank you for his very helpful article. I am very upset with this tax. I have a house in Greece but live in England. I come to Greece twice a year and support the economy by spending my money in Greece rather than other countries. I am now asked to pay property tax for coming there and staying in my house three weeks a year. It is unfair. I am now going to try and sell my house and use the money to buy in another country that supports my interests better. I am sure this tax will have a very detrimental effect on the Greek economy in the long run. In the short run it is a quick fix for monetary problems in Greece but in the long term it is a warning for anyone thinking of investing in Greece to look elsewhere!

Thanks

Aristos

Kat Reply:

Lots of people in and outside Greece share your feelings, saying, “How many times must we pay for our lives?” There was a noticeable shift from optimism to despair after the third VAT hike affecting everyday basics like food, water and electricity, and I’m not sure how much more we can take.

Even before the debt crisis, Greece had not been an attractive country to prospective business investors and residential prices were (and still are) inflated, which baffles economists and buyers alike.

  Sarah wrote @ December 10th, 2011 at 14:45

Kat,

Thanks for all your insights, wisdom and wit. Recognizing that your blog is nearly 5 years old now and that I’m a wee bit late to the party, I was wondering if I could ask a couple of (possibly stupid) bigger-picture type questions unrelated to this post.

Disclaimer: I’ve been reading your articles for roughly 4 straight hours, but this is my first visit to your site, so I’m probably just not looking in the right place…

1) Do you have a ‘Categories’ tab or a way to browse beyond what’s listed in your ‘Best of…’ column? I noticed in a couple of older posts that you referred folks to the search bar and categories tab. I can’t find the latter… which is making navigation a bit challenging, esp since I’m like 4 1/2 years behind.

2) Finding myself in the nascent stages of living/working in Greece, I didn’t see many articles related to schools — like primary schools — for children. I have a mancub, who will need a proper education. He’s currently 3. I was looking at American, British and International private schools in Greece earlier today… It seems there are several options, many in Athens, some in Thessaloniki (sp?) Any insights on that scene/process that you or one of your colleagues could offer would be most welcome. You know, incase the economic crisis and overhaul of the tax code aren’t keeping you busy enough 🙂 just an idea.

Keep up the good work… and once your book gets published I’m buying it for a few friends. Good luck with that, I know it can’t be easy with the goal posts constantly moving.

Best,
Sarah

Kat Reply:

Hi Sarah,

You’re not late. People are free to hop on or off, depending on their needs at the time.

1. The Categories were removed because no one was using them, and it’s been my intention to implement a site-wide change based on plans I’ve already drawn up, but time and paid/personal commitments limit what I can and am willing to do.

2. I have nothing on this website about schools and children because lots of forums and Foreign Women in Greece groups (Facebook, clubs, organizations) tend to discuss these, and I like to cover topics that no one else does. There are 300+ articles in a state of constant update, as you recognized, and I have plans for 200 more articles, but it still wouldn’t cover everything as English-language news agencies do less and Greece and its laws evolve. I alone run the website, Twitter feed and answer everyone’s questions, and I don’t know anyone with the rare combination of expertise and insanity to take my place or at least share responsibility.

I appreciate you saying hello and the words of encouragement. Hope to see you again.

  S wrote @ December 19th, 2011 at 05:55

Comment 1
A most comprehensive and lucid article I have come across to date. ! I’ve forwarded the link to everyone I remembered has property in Greece.

Dont understand why non Greek property owners are making such fuss about the tax though. I dont know about other countries but council taxes are much more expensive in the UK and my friend living in Berlin pointed out that they are much more expensive in Germany too. Greece has to make a start somewhere to put its affairs in order and it is going to be a bumpy ride for a long time for most. Non Greeks who chose to make Greece their home have benefited in some way or another from the chaos which reigns/reigned (I live in hope) here (in Greece).

Comment 2
I am Greek by birth and currently I am in the UK seeing to affairs but my main domicile is Greece where I shall return at start of February. I also spend quite a bit of time in the Czech Republic which I also feel to be my home culturally and linguistically. I am neither rich nor poor and in the UK I am taxed on my UK income and in Greece I pay the dues and taxes demanded of me on the income generated in Greece. I am not an accountant to understand fully the macro economics of a tax system, except to understand that like in a business the state needs an income for its functioning and this is best done through a taxation system. Greece needs a taxation system and it must start somewhere.The blessing of Papandrou is that he has brought to the surface some of the many maladies of the Greek infrastructure. However it is a long and bumpy ride ahead .of us.

In the Uk I pay rates on property I own (without concessions as the UK authorities consider the property to be my second home) and I expect to receive no imbursement from Greece which is listed as my first residence. There are greater needs than mine!

I regret my sweeping statement .’…non Greeks…’ without having given due thought and consideration to the manyfold ethnic labour force of Greece who in the end will suffer most the implemented austerity measures.

My remark was aimed at non Greeks , who have found the loopholes in the Greek chaotic system to their advantage for purposes of off shore investment or some other activities often stated as ‘non profit’. without paying even the most minimal obligatory dues…The pages of the Owners Direct Site and similar advertising sites are full of advertised holiday accommodation owned by non resident non Greek owners who have not paid their obligatory dues nor taxes albeit by the new eurounion law they are supposed to declare this income somewhere. The Greek chaos provides a loophole.

Kat Reply:

Answer 1
Plenty of everyone — including Greeks, who make up the majority — have complained about this tax because the amount being billed isn’t relative to the income we earn, and we know it won’t be used properly when paid as the gov’t continues to overspend. Your last sentence is tinged with arrogance and assumes that all non-Greeks living in Greece are well off or ignorant of reality, and that’s simply not true.

Germany and the UK enjoy wages and a standard of living far higher than Greece, so of course taxes should be higher. UK residents also enjoy a lot more social benefits/payments than Greeks.

It’s clear that you believe non-Greeks have no right to voice the same opinions that Greeks do, which is chauvinistic and a common characteristic amongst Greeks who live outside Greece and visit seasonally. Also, when you say “here (in Greece),” don’t you mean the UK? That’s where your IP originates, and likely your domicile.

Answer 2
Papandreou did not expose poor infrastructure, as it’s been there for decades in plain sight — he was only the first who tried to clean it up, accompanied by heavy handed EU-ECB-IMF conditions for bailout that Greece could not escape.

Greece is made up of 90 percent Greeks who understand the language and treat tax evasion as sport, whereas non-Greeks barely understand the language and cannot keep up with laws unless they hire a Greek to help them. Even if they all participated (unlikely), this country didn’t get to where it is because a 10-percent minority of foreigners is benefiting from loopholes.

  chris wrote @ December 22nd, 2011 at 09:30

I have read with great interest your articles and also the questions posed to you. Thank you for creating it.

I am an English retiree who, with my wife, decided to move and live permanently in Greece in 2005. We purchased land and had an 86 square meter house built on it. Every year we go to our accountant and complete our tax return.

As I or my wife have never worked in Greece, naturally we are not entitled to unemployment payments or a pension, so our tax returns show this. I have asked my accountant to submit a claim for a refund on our property tax and exemption from paying the tax again because we do not, and never have, claimed unemployment or pensions from the Greek Government, as we are not entitled to, and we are not earning wages in Greece, therefore we fall into the category of penniless people.

The pensions I receive are from England for what I contributed in England. Is the Greek Government allowed to state that my pensions from England are Greek pensions, and if so how can they do that?

On another note surely the government are using blackmail tactics, and would blackmail tactics be upheld in the European Court ?

Kat Reply:

You do not fall in the category of penniless people because you draw a pension from the UK, which is considered income, and you own a home, which is considered an asset. Penniless people have nothing. The Greek government doesn’t consider a UK pension to be a Greek pension, but income is income no matter where it comes from and disclosure of it on a tax return is obligatory in at least one country. Everything I’m saying should have been easily answered by your accountant.

Whether this is classified as ‘blackmail’ is subjective. The European Court hears objective cases that pertain to violations of laws and directives.

  Judy wrote @ January 3rd, 2012 at 20:09

We are Americans who have a house on the Peloponnese. We come to Greece three times a year for three weeks or so each time. At this point, we’re not planning to retire permanently to Greece, but may. I’ve read all the information about that. What I haven’t found is any information about purchasing a car in Greece if you are a non-resident/tourist. Can we do this? It’s expensive to rent and we’d love to have a car sitting waiting for us when we arrive.

Kat Reply:

I can certainly understand why purchasing a car is preferable to renting in your situation.

The straight answer is that Americans, non-EU citizens and non-Greek EU citizens need a residence permit to purchase and register a vehicle in Greece. Years ago they didn’t enforce this rule, but they are now.

However, the auto industry in suffering now, and there may be car dealerships willing to sell you a car and get the paperwork done without one. Which ones? There’s no way to know. On your next visit, make inquiries with a few and see if someone can accommodate what you need and want.

Taking an informal poll amongst people I know, half were asked for a residence permit, half were not. This is why I needed time to investigate the rules as written and compare them to what happens in reality.

Thanks for your question, and all best.

  michael wrote @ January 8th, 2012 at 11:31

another huge and potentially expensive thing going on now about houses is important!!
I have been told that all greek houses need to agree completely with the original building plans by feb 1 or you won’t be able to sell or transfer property without large fines!!
so each owner needs to check with an engineer to see if plans match house, any changes were permitted completely any square meters added permitted etc.

can you write about this?

Kat Reply:

It’s not certain that Greece will go through with implementing these measures, though I understand why you are concerned. At the moment, I do not have time or plans to write on this subject.

  David wrote @ January 8th, 2012 at 15:51

Hi, Kat.

Well, two years after chaos and confusion was discovered in Athens’s government departments, it appears the situation hasn’t changed!

Have just read in Ekathimerini that “European Commission spokesman Olivier Bailly has made it clear in Brussels that the 5 billion euros tranche of the first bailout package that was originally scheduled to come to Athens in December, will now come in March”!

And that the “further 10 billion Athens was about to receive in March is now set for June. «That cannot be changed,» Bailly said, referring to the three-month rhythm in paying out tranches of the program.”

But in November and December 2011 there were no end of reports coming from Greek ministers that Greece was desperate for that tranche in December and there were warnings, weren’t there, that if they didn’t receive it by Dec 15, exactly, then Greece wouldn’t be able to pay salaries and pensions and it would go under!

And Venizelos was reported as saying in late November that in addition to the tranche in Decemeber Greece would need a further 80 billion this month, January, 2012!

But now it seems from the above report in Ekathimerini that both tranches have been set back 3 months and yet there is no sign at all that anyone in the government is screaming that Greece will therefore sink!

This just doesn’t add up! What on earth is going on? Were the earlier cries unfounded? What do you think, Kat?

Regards,
David.


Well, clearly Greece is managing to at least survive. It didn’t sink without the 6th tranche being delivered by 15 Dec and it appears Brussels has reason to believe Greece can hold on until the 6th tranche is delivered in March! Yet for weeks in November we had all this drama coming from Greek ministers about how Greece would fail if the 6th tranche wasn’t received by 15 December.

So, from now on whenever a Greek minister makes an earnest statement I shall pause and consider the likelihood of the statement being little more than political manoeuvring and pure PR! I didn’t realise that acting was as intrinsic to Greek life as this! 🙂

Kat Reply:

The best story about the tranche delay ran January 5 in the WSJ, which I posted on my Twitter news feed:
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120105-710709.html

There was a response in Greek news, with ministers responding that Bailly’s comments were rubbish. Many stories never run in English-language news or several days late. I, in general, don’t pay attention to political maneuvering and PR. Greece cannot do much because it hasn’t owned up to its obligations or promises to establish credibility (an decades-old problem), which makes world leaders and markets nervous. And world and financial leaders pretty much set the rules because they hold the purse.

  Mark wrote @ January 18th, 2012 at 20:05

Can I ask you or your readers for an opinion please on a question I am interested in Europe wide. It is about current and future residential property values, as a generalisation. Firstly let me add I am not trying to be a smart Alec, I have lost plenty of money recently in real estate, particularly the U.A.E. But also the UK.

Q.1. Is the average small 3 bedroom holiday villa, not prime postion but nice enough, near the sea, in an average holiday village or town, on the mainland or one of the larger tourist islands, down in price over 2 or 3 years by more than 33% from, say Euro 350,000 to E250,000 or not ?

Q.2. Are banks or other institutions selling properties that they re claim from defaulters at auction now ? If so, are buyers buying similar properties another 15% or 20% lower ?.

Q.3 if no to Q.1 and Q.2, why not and what will do you think will happen to the average property I described when Greece leaves the Euro? In Euro or Dmas.

Many thanks for your and others’ excellent comments.
Mark.

Kat Reply:

1. No. Residential property prices have held steady, which has baffled economists. Big discounts on commercial property spaces. The subject has been covered by English-language news.

2. a) Don’t know. You can call any bank in Greece to inquire; b) No, people are scared to buy in this uncertain climate. Again, the subject has been covered by CNN, Guardian, Reuters.

3. No one knows since there’s no precedent, which economists and financial experts discuss frequently at Economist, WSJ, Reuters, etc. Banks will collapse if Greece defaults.

I inform people on practicalities in my unpaid spare time; I unfortunately do not offer free consultation on subjects of the reader’s choosing.

  Louis wrote @ January 21st, 2012 at 04:33

Hello Kat,

Just a quick note of thanks for the most comprehensive description of the EETIDE in English that I have come across to date.

Thanks, Louis

  Marie wrote @ January 25th, 2012 at 01:01

Respect and thanks to you, using amounts of hours to investigate, ,translate , explain and informe about whats going on..to help others to understand.

This is an update from Crete:
We live in a small village in Crete.,For a lot a people ,it is hard to understand what is going on, since everything seems to change day by day. As well people here, has their daily problems to solve. One cant discuss crisis while chasing à goat who ran away in the early morning leaving its kid with no milk. Way of living on an s island is different from Athens.

People here, of course do discuss what to do,. Shortly after, new things happen and then thats the subject of today.. A lot of people here has big economical problems due to reduction in both pensions and salaries, raised rates for electricity, new m2 tax etc.. We do not hear anyone moorn: Cretans are through centuries used to suffer.. Not that they understate the problems at all,just finding it difficult to see any solutions.

Discussions normally ends up, with the classical saying :
Ti na kano me? Tipota, Afto mono apo THEOS.

People believe that God knows what is going on,,and that we have have the oblgation to take care of what we have and keep having faith and love in the heart…

people agree and we have a good laugh about theese idiots who think they can rule Greece, an as well Crete.

  Paul wrote @ February 1st, 2012 at 13:30

Many thanks for this excellent summary. It is very helpful. I’m just sorry for my Greek friends, many of whom have very little and are being squeezed dry while the Eurocrats announce that the Greek State has acheived no austerity at all.

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.