Here comes the Sun — and it will cost you, says Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal | AFP |
Property? It’s location, location, location, as any real estate vendor — and the Portuguese taxman — will tell you.
Under fiercely-contested fiscal changes which became law on Monday, people buying a home in Portugal that has an unspoilt sea view or faces the sun may be hit by a 20-percent increase in property tax.
But those with a place overlooking a cemetery or water treatment plant may enjoy a tax reduction of up to 10 percent.
The percentage increase or fall is at the discretion of the local council, which applies the levy.
The changes have been pushed through by the Socialist government.
“It’s based on social justice,” says party spokesman Joao Galamba.
“People object when someone living in a basement and someone living on the top floor with a great view each have to pay exactly the same tax.”
The initial plan was to impose the increase on property of any value.
But an amendment devised by Communist MP Paulo Sa means that it will only affect homes with a so-called fiscal value of 250,000 euros ($260,000) — a tiny fraction of the property market, he says.
In addition, the change applies only to new purchases of property and to homes that owners have asked to be valued.
“We are totally against this measure — it’s based on subjective criteria. The view from a home depends on the individual’s perception,” Ernesto Pinto, a tax specialist at the consumers’ association DECO, told AFP.
“The signs are that the next step will be to tax the air we breathe,” sighed Antonio Farias Marque, the head of the National Association of Property Owners.