PRIVATELY owned land in Cyprus is worth some €200 billion, Interior Minister Socratis Hasikos said on Wednesday, announcing the completion of the process of updating immovable property values as part of the island’s bailout agreement.
“It appears we have private property worth a total of €200 billion,” Hasikos told reporters after a cabinet meeting. “This does not include Turkish Cypriot properties and state land.”
As part of the bailout, Cyprus had to update real estate values by mid 2014.
Until 2013, property owners were taxed based on 1980s values with many paying peanuts and others nothing at all.
Completion of the process paved the way for the Finance Ministry and the Inland Revenue department to set new, lower, Immovable Property Tax (IPT) rates.
“We have said that the tax will be lower than last year,” Hasikos said.
This was due to the fact that the updating process has added some 300,000 properties to the mix.
“This is a job that should have been done every five years; in the Republic of Cyprus it took us some 30 years to update the values and that is why people reacted,” the minister said. “It is one thing to tax a field, another to tax a (residential or commercial) plot of land, and yet another to tax the building on the plot. All this did not exist so there could not be fair taxation.”
A bill approved by cabinet on Wednesday also includes provisions concerning objections and fees to be paid when submitting an appeal.