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Community taxes discriminatory to foreigners?

An article appeared in today’s Cyprus Mail concerning excessive taxes being levied by a Community (a local government authority) on foreigners with property; a practice that the Island’s Commissioner concludes may be discriminatory.

RESIDENTS living in a village some 10 miles to the south of Paphos town wrote to me complaining that the local taxes they were being charged by their local Community were higher than those being paid by their Cypriot friends and neighbours.

I suggested that they write to the Commissioner, expressing their concerns on this matter and it looks as if this advice may have paid off. A brief article on this issue was published in today’s Cyprus Mail:

Foreigners pay

THE COMMISSIONER said she had received many complaints about the amount of community taxes paid by European citizens.

In one case the crucial criteria concerned the imposition of higher duties to the inhabitants of the “coastal area” of a community, inhabited mainly by European citizens; and in another to the inhabitants of “villas” without specifying the separation of “houses” and “villas”.

“The Commissioner concluded that there is a prima facie issue of a possible indirect (covert) discrimination against them on the grounds of nationality/citizenship,” said the report.

Copyright © Cyprus Mail

As the article omits to mention the name of the Community, I cannot confirm that it is the same one that people complained to be about.

If anyone else has been the subject of this or any similar discriminatory practice involving the public authorities, they should complain to The Office of the Commissioner of Administration (Ombudsman) so that the matter can be investigated.

Readers' comments

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  • cojack says:

    We have been fighting this complaint for some years, only to be informed by Sotira council, that, You live near the sea, pay up. I know for a fact we are paying over 100 euro more than local residents, and also the extra cost for our properties, for “living near the sea”.

    It is time now to complain to the ombudsman. As we also have to pay for any running repairs to our complex, ie. road repairs, mains water systems what are we paying the council for.

  • @Whirlybird – I believe there was a protest outside the Avgorou Community Office in late September by the local residents (Cypriots and expats)?

    Why not invite them all to complain to the Ombudsman?
    The link to the website is in the article and the complaint form is available in Greek and English.

  • Whirlybird Rtd says:

    Our village of Avgorou has a similar problem except that the local Cypriot residents appear to be paying very high community charges as well, I know that expats are not getting anywhere with the Local Government in regards to talks and any form of rebate.

    Avgorou seems to be the highest community charges around at 472 euros.

  • Costas Apacket says:

    It’s very sad, but the more I see and learn in Cyprus, the more I start to believe that the Cypriots don’t think that Διακρίσεις, (Discrimination),is a problem especially when it affects ‘foreigners’ and not them.

    Whilst I totally agree that the poorest members of society such as widows or widowers on very low incomes should be protected, this does not appear to be how it works in Cyprus.

    Rather it is Cypriots of any kind who seem to benefit from lower prices at the local shops and it would also seem to be sometimes the case for municipal charges to the disadvantage of ‘foreigners’ who could be subsidising the ‘system’.

  • Peter says:

    I wish I could find out what everyone pays in our village. It appears to be on a need to know basis. There are three different rates for the rubbish and another one or two for the local rates. Water also appears to be a problem. It’s it time the local councils were required to publish their rates for transparency? It makes you wonder why it’s such a big secret. I can’t even find out what the developer pays for my house, even after 10 years of living it.

    I only found out two years ago that the hardship allowance, (paid to owners above 600m) has two levels and all the Brits were on the lower level regardless of age. I managed to get the right amount for the last two years but no refund for the €250+ we had lost year on year since 2002.

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