Monday, December 12, 2011

What Changes in Greek Laws May Mean to You

Your Way To Financial Freedom
With changes in the tax code both in Greece and abroad, many owners are faced with a bewildering array of new regulations of which to make sense. For example, Greece's recent emergency levy of a new property tax applies to both native and foreign owners of real estate in that country. Many people from the UK and other European countries bought properties in Crete, Corfu, or other highly desirable destinations and have enjoyed these properties for years.

The new measures are not necessarily designed to last forever, but owners will have to deal with them for the time being. So what is an owner to do?

First, remember that you can always sell your property in Greece as a means of eliminating any impact of annual real estate taxes. A thorough discussion with a knowledgeable real estate professional is highly encouraged if you are considering this option.

Getting a complete evaluation of the real estate market in the area of your property, estimation of a sales price, and evaluation of any tax implications should be done prior to deciding to sell. The real estate professional may also be able to give you more options than just selling. For example, it may be possible to let your property to people on holiday, or perhaps to a yearly tenant.

Corporations are also looking for properties that can be used when employees relocate or are on temporary assignments, and a corporate rental scheme may be something that is available to you. Speaking with a real estate professional is the only way to find out what options are available to you, so you can find the ones that will work best in your situation.

Another option is to explore what the higher tax rate will mean for you in your home country. Will it be deductible? If so, is it fully deductible or partial? How much will the tax be on your property?

Since it is not only progressive, but also based on the size of the property (per square metre), every tax will be different, and finding out the proposed tax rate is a great first step. Also, find out if you will qualify for any reductions. For example, seniors and pensioners often receive reduced rates, and if you qualify for one of these reductions then it can make a big difference in your bill. Is the tax payable in instalments?

People who cannot pay the entire tax bill at once can often do so if the payments are spread out. A smaller amount on a monthly or quarterly basis is much easier to pay than one large annual bill.

Finally, consider increasing your income-generation via the property you own. Letting out your Greece property may allow renters to pay the tax for you. Learn about the tax and explore your options, and you will find a solution that fits your needs.

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