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   January, 2014

o15 Changes in Property and Income Taxation – The new Single Property Tax Law

According to the new Law nr. 4223/2013 (published in the Government Gazette nr.  A 287/31.12.2013), the following tax changes take effect from January 1st, 2014, regarding property located in Greece and owned by natural or legal persons or any kind of legal entities. 
Please note that, according to article 3 of this law, the following legal rights on properties are exempted from the new tax, among others: a) these belonging to legal persons and legal entities of the established religions and doctrines, according to paragraph 2 of article 13 of the Greek Constitution, which are used by them for the fulfillment of their religious and community work as well as b) legal rights on properties restricted due to city planning or expropriation or in case no administrative act has been yet issued for release of the expropriation although this has been ordered by a final judgment or in case that no compensation for the expropriation or the imposed restriction due to city planning has been paid although more than one (1) year has elapsed from the issuance of the relevant irrevocable judgment or final administrative act.
Typically, this new tax replaces the until today existing Temporary Property Tax and Property Tax laws, but in fact it retains both of these types of taxation and also expands the tax base by imposing, for the first time, a tax for areas out of city plan
More specifically, according to Law 4223/2013:

        1. Tax reduction in relation to Temporary Property Tax 
Buildings (homes, commercial buildings, etc.) will be taxed per square meter and without a tax-free threshold. The tax will be calculated at 2,00 to 13,00 euros per square meter, depending on the price zone in which the property stands. Based on this way of taxation, a reduction of 4% to 21% of the imposed tax will occur compared to Temporary Property Tax, depending on the area in which the property is located. 

       2. Additional Property Tax for Property of more than € 300.000,00 value
       An additional Property Tax will be imposed to taxpayers who own real estate of an assessed value of more than € 300.000,00 on an individual basis, which will range from 0.1% to 1%. This tax includes all buildings and land within the city plan and exempts off city plan and settlement areas.

     3. Widening of the Tax Base
     The tax base will be increased, as estate tax will be applied also to areas out of city plan such as fields, farmlands, woodlands etc, at a lump sum price per acre. The tax will be calculated at 0,001 euro per square meter and will fluctuate depending on the characteristics of each area, such as its use, whether it is irrigated, if forestry etc.

     4. Plots taxed on a scale basis
      The tax on plots will be calculated on a scale basis which starts at 0,003 euros up to 9,00 euros per square meter. Based on this scale, an acre of a land within the city plan will be subject to tax ranging from 3,00 to 9.000,00 euros, depending on the area in which the property is located.

     5. Capital Gains’ Tax 
       Since January 1st, 2014, a tax will be imposed according to the surplus value of a property, which will be sold after 01.01.2014.
     The tax will rate to 15% and will be calculated on the difference between the purchase price (i.e. the price listed in the contract) and the selling price (i.e. the price listed in the contract) of the property, without any time limit regarding to the time and way of the property acquisition. The difference between the two prices will be deflated and a reduction factor of up to 40 % will apply, depending on the duration of the holding period of the property. Please note the following: In case it is not possible to find out the purchase price, then this is considered to be zero price and the 15% tax is levied on the total sale value of the property.

     6. Reduction of the Transfer Tax
     Since January 1st, 2014, the Property Transfer Tax will be reduced. In order to stimulate the real estate market, it was decided that transfer tax will be reduced up to 70%. The transfer tax is currently 8% for property of value up to 20,000 euros, while the excess value is taxed at 10%. With the already applied modification, the rate of real estate transfer tax is reduced from 8% -10% to 3%.

     7. Separate Taxation on Income from Rents
     A separate taxation on income from rents is established, having as result the loss of the tax-free threshold of 5,000 euros which applied until now. For an annual income of up to € 12,000, the tax rate is set at 11% and for a higher income at 33%.

     8. Abolition of the Non Taxable Limit for Employees and Pensioners 
     The non-taxable limit for employees and pensioners is abolished and a new taxation scale from 22% to 42% is introduced. A tax discount will be effected for those having an income of up to 21,000 euros. This discount will in fact establish a non taxable limit of approximately 9,000 euros.

      9. Abolition of almost all Tax Exemptions from the Personal Income Tax
    Almost all exemptions from the personal income tax are abolished, such as those relating to language and tutoring tuition, costs for health insurance and pension, rent for primary residence and for children studying in a city other than that of residence as well as costs for medical expenses.

       10. Abolition of Tax Exemptions for Self – employed
    The non-taxable limit for self – employed is abolished while a tax rate of 26% is established on income up to € 50,000 and up to 35% on income above € 50,000. Self - employed and businesses can nevertheless deduct all of their business expenses and their insurance contributions.

        11. Increase of the Tax Rate for Businesses
        The tax rate on partnerships and limited partnership companies is increased from 20% to 26%. Also, the same rate applies on profits of limited companies and limited liability companies.

12. The Receipts Collection Measure
The receipts collection measure from taxpayers remains as until today. The only change is that employees and retirees will need to gather receipts up to 10% of their income.

13. Introducing Taxation on Farmers as Self – employed
The obligation for farmers to be taxed as self – employed at a rate of 13%, to keep records of income and expenses, to issue vouchers for their products and to receive invoices for their purchases is established. 

14. New Tax on Shares’ Excess Value – Abolition of Stock Trading Tax
A tax of 15% on shares’ excess value is established, while the current stock trading tax is abolished. The new tax will be calculated on the difference between the purchase price and the selling price of the shares. Also, the shares’ excess value tax will be applied to every kind of investment securities, such as bonds.

15. Reset of the Measure of Proving the Origin of Income
The measure of proving the origin of income regarding property purchase, the establishment of companies and the acquisition of shares and securities in general is re-established. 

oThe Greek electronic portal “ICISnet” for customs transactions becomes fully operational

As of December 3rd, 2013, the Greek electronic portal for customs’ transactions, “ICISnet”, became fully operational. 
The said portal (link: www.portal.gsis.gr/portal/page/portal/ICISnet) allows, among others, the electronic submission of customs documents and the electronic communication with customs authorities. Although the exchange of e‐messages for certain customs related procedures (such as exports) was already possible before December 3rd, 2013, the system was updated on said date and developed to cover almost all customs procedures, among which, imports. 
The use of ICISnet is in principle obligatory, unless an exemption is provided for in the relevant provisions. The purpose of the aforementioned electronic portal is to cover the needs of both customs authorities and businesses, so that they may implement the customs‐related procedures from their offices. 
Thus, cases whereby physical presence at the customs offices is still required are significantly reduced, without however being completely abolished until now. Indicatively, payment of customs duties and taxes, as well as the physical collection of the permission to receive the customs cleared goods is still conducted at the premises of the competent customs office; electronic payment of duties and taxes is expected to be enforced soon. 

oEvents and suggestions 

The exhibition of art photographs by the well – known American fine – art photographer, curator and lecturer Joshua Garrick “Seeking the ancient Kallos” will be presented by the National Archaeological Museum of Athens until January 13th, 2014.
The exhibition is composed of four (4) thematic units, placed in different areas of the Museum:
1. “Visit”/ A visit in the Museum’s monumental vestibule: three photos, aiming to initiate the visitor to the artist’s dialogue with the sculptures,
2.  “Breathing”/in Gallery 21: one photo that in a way reveals the hidden side of an exquisite female statue,   
3. “Garden statues”/ in the Atrium: an extraordinary selection of statues depicting the ancient Greek beauty,
4. “Instants”/ in the Inner Cafe: a series of photos presenting details of the sculptures as captured by the artist.
The final result is a mental wandering, aiming to delight the visitor and to highlight the unseen sights in each sculpture. The inspired titles by the artist further emphasize this wandering, as they refer to life and death, youth and maturity, power and prudence, beauty and pain, joy and loss, victory and defeat, love and immortality (National Archaeological Museum, 44 Patision str., 10682, Athens, tel. +30 2132144890). 

The exhibition “Folk toys at the house of Nikos Hadjikyriakos - Ghika” will be presented by the Benaki Museum till March 9th, 2014. 
The Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery opened one-and-a-half years ago and is now holding its first temporary exhibition in a specially-constructed hall on the ground floor, which will host two small-scale exhibitions each year, each with works by artists lined to the Gallery's permanent exhibits. This exhibition focuses on childhood. Known and unknown drawings by the artist will be exhibited an environment that adults will find nostalgic and children will find charming. The drawings focus on folk toys, as well as old games, many of which are no longer used. 
Many of these works are being exhibited to the public for the very first time. They are drawn from the collection of the Ghika Gallery and from private collections, while most of the toys are from the Benaki Museum collection of Toys and Childhood; a collection that will shortly be housed in its entirety in the Kouloura residence of Benaki Museum. (Benaki Museum, Pireos str. N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery, 3 Kriezotou str.,  tel. +30   210 361 5702, 210 363 0818).
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