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Property tax reform discussions continue

Discussions on major reforms of the Cyprus property tax system continued today with Finance Minister Harris Georgiades urging MPs to pass legislation before parliament’s summer recess.

Cyprus property tax reformFINANCE Minister Harris Georgiades on Monday appealed to MPs to pass government legislation overhauling and streamlining the Cyprus immovable property tax (IPT) system before the parliament’s summer recess.

“If you do not pass it now, before parliament breaks for summer, the legislation will not apply in 2016,” Georgiades said.

He was speaking before a joint session of the House finance and interior committees, where the minister provided clarifications on a number of points raised by MPs.

Georgiades said owners of immovable property worth up to €50,000 would not be required to pay any tax.

Exempted from paying are the small owners with an IPT of up to €25. This exempts some 65,000, or 17.5 per cent of property owners.

But the minister warned that attempts to exempt even more people meant that those not exempt would end up paying a bigger share.

Discussion of the government bills continues next Monday.

The government has proposed introducing a flat immovable property tax rate to 0.05 per cent and scrapping the IPT paid to local authorities altogether.

The flat rate will be levied on property values updated in 2013. To date, IPT is calculated on 1980s values, excluding many properties because they did not exist at the time. Rates differ depending on the value.

The revenues from IPT will be used to fund local authorities which stand to lose considerable income by the decision to scrap their IPT.

Greens MP George Perdikis said his party opposes a flat rate, and suggested instead tweaking the current staggered rate, which he described as “fairer.”

A flat rate would benefit large landowners, he added.

At the same time however, the government plans to levy 19 per cent VAT on land sales as part of commercial property transactions. The finance minister has said it is a matter of compliance with EU directives.

This will fetch the state some €24m as opposed to around €58m in lost revenues from the reduction in the tax rate – down to €45m from €103m.

Readers' comments

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  • embabaphos says:

    Everything still up in the air, 3 MPs were on the radio this a.m talking about the pros and cons, personally I don’t see why someone with property under €200,000 in value should be exempt…they maybe more financially well off than someone who say inherited 1000,000 worth of land….and if does go AKEL’s way then why stop there?….may as well scrap vat for those who on paper are low income etc where does it end?

    Out of curiosity, if AKEL’s way passed will it work out that anyone who has property say value €210,000 will get taxed on the €10,000 or will the tax take the whole €210,000 into account and take that?

    Ed: As I haven’t seen AKEL’s proposals in full I can’t say how property would be taxed (there’s zilch on their website.)

  • Ian Pearce says:

    Do we know what the proposed valuation bands are above 50000 euro? Also, is there a process already in place to value properties for IPT and how do we access the valuations, plus is there an appeals process?

    Ed: there are no valuation bands being proposed by the Government, just a flat rate of 0.05%. AKEL wants to raise the threshold to €200,000.

    There was a period where you could challenge the 2013 valuation, but this has passed.

  • embaphos says:

    Just like last year with the trapped buyers law they will leave it till the last minute, on a side note the sooner they merge the plethora of taxes the better.

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