NICOSIA - Discussion on changes to immovable property tax policy will continue next week following a decision to put off the Plenum vote slated for yesterday.
A phone call from Finance Minster Vassos Shiarly, currently overseas, requesting that the law be passed to strengthen Cyprus’s position at the January 21 Eurogroup meeting did not prevent the delay. MPs have said they needed more time to consider the ramifications of the changes.
Akel disagreed with the postponement and, along with the Greens, suggested an extraordinary Plenum session next Thursday for the matter to be voted on.
Meeting with party leaders, House Speaker Yiannakis Omirou said a new Plenum would only take place before February’s Presidential elections if EU bailout negotiations had been completed and the state notified of the Troika’s position.
Approved by the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, changes include the removal of a €40,000 January 1, 1980 value tax threshold.
Inland Revenue Department Director George Poufos and Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Andreas Assiotis yesterday told the House Finance Committee that even small changes to the government plan would prevent the state from getting the €90-€120m it hopes to gain from the tax.
Briefing the press on Wednesday, Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that the majority of homeowners, some 78.39% or 262,491 people, would not have to pay the tax because their property was worth less than €40,000 in accordance to its 1980 value. Almost half of legal entities (48.6% or 8,546 companies) will also be except.
The second scale, €40,000-€120,000 would see 18.45% or 61,791 homeowners paying tax equal to four per thousand, paying an average €257 per year and no more than €480.
The third scale, from €120,000- €170,000 will pay eight per thousand which, Stephanou said, meant that 1.6% of homeowners would pay and average of €1,127 for the year and no more than €1,360.
The next scale, including properties of an 1980 value of up to €300,000, will be subject to tax of 12 per thousand. Making up 1%, these homeowners will pay an average of €2,592 and up to more than €3,600 per year.
Those with property valued at up to €500,000 make up 0.2% of homeowners or 998 individuals. They will pay 12 per thousand, averaging €5,580 and no more than €7,500 per year.
The 315 homeowners with properties valued at up to €1m in 1980 will be subject to 18 per thousand tax, averaging around €12,000 per year and no more than €18,000.
The owners of properties valued at €3m in 1980 will be subject to 20 per thousand. The around 85 homeowners in this category will pay an average of €28,000 and no more than €60,000 per year. The same criteria also apply to legal entities.