ATHENS – Greeks who’ve been whacked with huge bills under the new, unified ENFIA property tax don’t have any relief yet – but can pay the wrong bills over six installments, the government said.
Meeting at the Maximos Mansion in Athens, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, Deputy Prime Minister and coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos, and Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis agreed that payments for the new levy – which replaces the previous Property Tax (FAP) and the tax imposed via electricity bills – could be spread over six payments instead of four, beginning at the end of September.
The coalition is aiming to collect 2.4 billion euros from ENFIA, down from the 2.65 billion initially calculated. But so far, the government hasn’t made good on promises to correct the bills that were wildly inflated and hit many taxpayers with a double whammy of higher taxes on devalued property that was wrongly assessed to be more valuable than it is.
The bill includes the dreaded “Haratsi,” that Venizelos, who is the PASOK Socialist leader, imposed on Greeks in a previous administration and put them in electric bills under the threat of having power turned off for non-payment.
Venizelos and some PASOK lawmakers have complained about the ENFIA but have continued to support it despite public protestations.
The government made the move on its own without consulting its international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) even though two of the six payments will be counted next year and not against this year’s revenues.