OPA Magazine, March 16, 2012
In an attempt to increase the revenues of the Greek State and decrease the Public Debt, the Greek Ministry of Economics established the imposition of a special fee imposed on power supplied buildings. Although this fee was initially imposed for the year 2011, the increased revenues that the Greek State has received, made the Greek Ministry decide to start collecting the fee on a more permanent basis. Thus, the Special Fee on power supplied buildings (officially called as E.E.T.H.D.E., but also referred as “haratsi”) will be imposed for the year 2012 and most likely for the following years.
How is this fee collected? The Greek Ministry has decided the collection of the fee through the power supply corporation (D.E.H.) bills and its collection for year 2011 in two equal installments (as the law came into force on October 3, 2011) and in four equal installments for year 2012. Hence, the power supply bills include since October 2011 not only the electricity consumption, the Municipal Taxes and Public Television fees, but also the new Special Fee on Properties.
Liable to pay the new Tax is the person who owns the property and/ or the one who uses and occupies it (i.e. the life estate owner, the “epikarpotis”). In cases of joint ownership on a property, all joint owners are liable to the payment of the fee, each according to his share of co-ownership on the property. However, if the property is rented, the tenant, who receives the power supply bill, pays the Special Fee, with the charges connected to the power supply bill, but may set off and deduct the amount corresponding to this special fee from the monthly rent.
How the fee is calculated? The fee is calculated based on the size of the power supplied building (apartment, shop, storage room), the tax value of the area where the property is located, the antiquity of the property, and these details are presented on the Power Supply bill.
Are all properties liable to payment of the Special fee? Not all. Law provides that the special fee is imposed on properties with buildings used either as residences or for commercial use (i.e. shops, offices, etc), which on September 17, 2011 had power supply either from the Public Electricity Company (D.E.H.) or from other suppliers. Hence, from the above special fee are mainly exempted: the properties of the Greek State, properties of the Greek Church or properties of other religions used for religious or for charitable services, properties used by legal entities for educational, religious, artist, charitable causes, properties of sport unions, properties of foreign States, used as Embassies or Consulates, properties that on September 17, 2011 did not have power supply, communal spaces of buildings, archaeological or historical monuments, plots with no buildings. A deduction from the above tax is also provided on properties used as primary residences, in case their owners are unemployed or have serious health problems.
Failure to pay this Special Fee through the power supply bill, may result to its forwarding to the competent Tax Authority for its collection and to the disconnection of the power supply, within a number of days (as per a previous ruling, within 80 days) after the power supply bill is due and payable.
Although the collection of the “haratsi” through the electricity bills is highly legally contested, it should be paid and not avoided.