Anyone who reads the news knows the situation in Greece is dire. As my other half of the family is in Greece I can tell you first hand, it’s a horrible situation which will take years to unravel and set right. Unemployment is rife, wages, pensions and any form of government subsidies are being cut left, right and centre and every day brings a new tax.
Recently, in a desperate bid to get more money into the government coffers, the Greek government has levied a new “property tax” for all property owners. Based upon the size of your property (per square metre) and the location, property owners now have to pay a new tax for just owning a property. The new property tax is to be paid annually and is supposedly just in force for 4 years – it’s meant to be an “emergency tax”. But, nobody believes the government. The Greek’s believe that once this new property tax is charged, it will be here to stay. And who can argue – if a government can find a new way to get more money in from it’s property owning tax payers then why would they close this lucrative income stream.
The Greek government have introduced this new property tax overnight. Up and down the country property owners are wringing their hands in despair – and fear.
And what has this got to do with us here in the UK? Well, right now nothing. But, given the copycat behaviour we see across our Eurozone who’s to say that suddenly we won’t see a new property tax introduced here in the UK? Once the government cottons on to how much can be raised in a single swoop the temptation may be too much to bear.
Owning property is a great asset and can be a great income stream – but it can also be a liability. Make sure you’re assets outweigh your liabilities!
Window Tax anyone?
Taxes are a necessary evil, and emergency measures are unavoidable. The UK already does tax you in the form of a poll tax. They are already looking at taxing your location and other features of your house, garage, views etc etc. This is nothing new. When you own property, it comes with liabilities, but in the long run it pays off. Real Estate is a long term investment.
We do have council tax, which is pretty much the same: taxed on a notional property value.
Greece is in such a bad state, both due to poor government fiscal control and (by many accounts) rampant tax evasion.
As for emergency taxes: I can quite sympathise with the Greeks. Income Tax in the UK was meant to to be a temporary tax to pay for the Napoleonic war!