Photo: storem on flickr
Poor Athens can’t even collect property taxes.
Greeks have built thousands of illegal constructions in recent years without penalty, according to Kathimerini. They don’t pay taxes on these properties.
What’s more, Greeks have prevented via civil court efforts by the government to impose penalty or tax.
A new plan from Athens offers homeowners a guarantee of 40 years without threat of demolition or further fines in exchange for paying a penalty today. The Greeks are very sceptical:
This time, the government is trying to sidestep the paradox of legalizing the illegal by placing a time limit on it. This may just work in court. What is not as simple is getting citizens to believe that they should accept the deal and finally contribute toward imposing some order on the chaos. For this problem to be solved, Greece has to complete its land registry and its zoning laws and – at long last – begin to plan ahead where people will build and what they will build. Otherwise, we are not only cheating the revenue service but we are also destroying our countryside and undermining our quality of life.
This is why Greece is worse off than other debt threats: no one trusts or respects the government.
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