INTERIOR Minister Socrates Hasikos said on Friday that there are still a few problems to sort out with changes to the Immovable Property Tax (IPT) system.
To date, tax demands have been sent to all owners of properties whose 1980 value is €12,500 or more and the state has collected approximately €14.4 million in additional revenue against the target agreed with the troika of at least €75 million.
Additional staff have been appointed to the Inland Revenue departments dealing with IPT and there are no major delays.
However, a number of problems have surfaced.
One known issue was that people wanted to understand how their IPT liability had been calculated. Owners who have received an IPT demand can obtain a detailed breakdown by registering with JCC Smart and clicking on the Inland Revenue Department icon [see Get a detailed breakdown of your Immovable Property Tax bill] or they can turn up at the Inland Revenue office with their ID card for verification.
Chartered surveyor Pavlos Loizou of Leaf Research said that he was aware that some people who had sold their property had received a demand for IPT. (As the tax is levied on those who own property on the 1st January, some of these demands could be explained by property transfers that have taken place since the start of the year; 4,433 according to the latest figures from the Department of Lands and Surveys).
Another issue is that although the Cabinet agreed changes to the IPT law more than a month ago, the House of Representatives has yet to vote on the matter. The government wants:
- To remove the minimum tax payment of €75.
- To exempt owners of properties whose total 1980 value is no more than €5,000.
- Owners of properties whose 1980 value exceeds €5,000 to pay tax on their total 1980 value and not benefit from the €5,000 exemption.
(Note that the law already includes exemptions for e.g. religious buildings and communal grazing grounds.)
However, opposition party AKEL is pushing for a higher exemption threshold of €40,000 with an adjustment in the tax bands to recover the loss in revenue – and to completely exempt all property registered as agricultural and livestock by the Cyprus Agricultural Payments Organisation on 1 January 1980.
It is expected that the House of Representatives will vote on the various amendments at its Plenary session this coming Thursday.