SHOULD Greeks abroad be taxed? This was the question discussed b
y Alternate Finance Minister Pantelis Economou and Olga Sarantopoulos, secretary of the World Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE), in Athens last week.
Sarantopoulos had sent a letter to Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in October calling on the government to exempt Greeks abroad from having to pay any of the new taxes.
According to the SAE secretary, Greeks abroad are the country’s biggest international assets: “They have repeatedly voiced their wish to help their home country exit this terrible financial crisis in any
possible way,” she said in her letter.
Economou and Sarantopoulos discussed the possibility of more favourable tax arrangements for Greeks abroad during their meeting on January 12. According to Sarantopoulos, it is “essential” that Greeks abroad receive more favourable treatment by the Greek state. In response, Economou said her views will be taken into consideration before the new tax bill is tabled in parliament.
In related news, Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis and his party’s three other MPs tabled a question in parliament asking about the taxation status of Greeks who are permanent residents abroad but own property in Greece.
“Greeks abroad are protesting because they feel it is unfair for them to pay the new property tax,” the MPs said in a letter addressed to Venizelos.
Countless Greeks abroad own property - a house or an apartment - in Greece, many inherited from parents and grandparents. Not all of them are receiving rent from this property, nor are they earning an income here in Greece.
“It is clear this tax is unreasonable for Greeks who do not live in Greece,” the four MPs said in their letter.
Venizelos has yet to answer their question.
|Athens News 23/Jan/2012 page 34|