Assessed Tax Value
Most fees are based on the ‘assessed tax value’ ( antikimeniki acsia) of the property, which is usually lower than the actual price paid. How much lower depends on the location of the property – property in resort areas or on islands tends to have a higher tax value than that in remote or less popular areas. The ‘assessed tax value’ is calculated by the local tax authorities based on government tables using criteria such as the location, size and characteristics of a property. It’s this value that’s usually declared on the final purchase contract (title deeds).
In some rural areas the value can be negotiated, but in most areas it’s fixed. You should ask your lawyer to ascertain the ‘assessed tax value’ of the property you plan to buy and to obtain confirmation in writing.
Declaring below the ‘assessed tax value’ leads to heavy fines as well as potential problems when you sell the property. Greece, in common with other EU countries (e.g. Portugal), plans to increase the ‘assessed tax values’ to bring them more into line with actual market values by January 2006.
The fees payable when buying a property in Greece may include the following:
- Purchase or transfer tax;
- Value Added Tax (new constructions only);
- Land registry fees;
- Notary’s fees;
- Lawyer’s fees;
- Community or municipal tax;
- Surveyor’s fee (optional);
- Selling agent’s fees;
- Utility fees.
The main fee is purchase (or transfer) tax, which is based on the ‘assessed tax value’ (see Assessed Tax Value above). Purchase tax is payable by the buyer at 7 per cent on the first €15,000 and at 9 per cent on the remainder, unless the property is situated in an area covered by a public fire protection service (this includes most areas that are popular with foreign buyers). If this is the case, the rates are increased to 9 per cent on the first €15,000 and 11 per cent on the remainder. For example, if the property you’re buying is in an area with a fire service and is valued at €100,000, you would pay a total of €10,700 purchase tax (€1,350 on the first €15,000 plus €9,350 on the remaining €85,000).
Purchase tax must be paid before the final purchase contract is signed and the notary requires proof of payment (the receipt) in order to authorise the sale. The intricacies of purchase tax make it almost mandatory to obtain legal advice before proceeding with a property purchase.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
New constructions with a building licence issued from January 2005 are subject to VAT at the rate of 18 per cent. New constructions with building licences issued before January 2005 aren’t subject to VAT regardless of when building work is completed.
Land Registry Fees
Land registry fees are from 0.3 to 0.5 per cent of the ‘assessed tax value’ plus a small sum for stamp duties and certificates.
The fees for the notary, who draws up the final purchase contract and officiates the sale, are usually between 1 and 2 per cent of a property’s ‘assessed tax value’. Fees also include small set charges for each sheet and document included in the contract.
Legal fees for the conveyancing involved in a sale are up to 1 per cent of the ‘assessed tax value’. The actual fee depends on the value of the property. You and your lawyer should agree the fees in writing beforehand. Engaging a lawyer and paying legal fees is optional, but highly recommended.
Community or Municipal Tax
A community tax at 3 per cent of the property transfer tax is paid to the local municipality for general public services such as road maintenance. Note that this tax is paid at the same time as the purchase tax to the central tax office.
If you employ a surveyor to inspect a building or plot of land, the fee will depend on the type of survey, any special requirements and the value of the property or land. A survey costs from €250.
Selling Agent’s Fees
Estate agent’s fees (generally between 2 and 5 per cent of the purchase price) are usually paid by both parties, with the vendor and buyer paying half each. Sometimes an allowance is made for this when setting the sale price, so in effect the buyer pays.
If you buy a new property you usually have to pay for electricity, gas and water connections, and the installation of meters. You should ask the builder or developer to provide the cost of connection to services in writing. In resale properties you will probably have to pay for the cost of new electricity and water contracts.