Cyprus Mail

Being blackmailed into paying more tax

I refer to the bill prepared by DIKO Deputy Angelos Votsis to try and force property owners to pay IPT before they may receive their title deeds (Cyprus Mail, 12 June 2013). I am now being blackmailed into paying more tax to subsidise a government that has totally destroyed the economy of Cyprus through waste and corruption.

I bought three apartments in Cyprus. I have been waiting nine years for my title deeds. Even though I paid €300 000, I was never offered residency like the Chinese of today.

I had to fight for years to obtain residency for my wife through a maze of EU and Cyprus regulations. The wife of an EU national is supposed to automatically qualify for residency, but this goes against Cyprus law.  For instance, we were told by airport immigration that my wife may not be in the country for more than 90 days in 6 months (EU rules). This was stamped in her passport.  Nicosia immigration insisted she could only get Cyprus residency if she continuously resides in the country for more than 180 days (Cyprus rules). Work that one out.

Can you believe that an immigration inspector actually called on my flat to check if my wife and I were permanently resident in Cyprus and live together? We have been together for 23 years. I complimented him on a job well done, regardless of the fact that I am a British citizen and am supposed to be treated like a Cypriot. I reminded him that when I pay my monthly social security contribution at the counter in the south wing, there is always a huge queue of unemployed foreigners with their families waiting for social security pay-cheques at the north wing counter.

I had to visit the Land Registry office in Limassol two times and wait for four hours to get my property sales contracts registered. All forms are in Greek only. I am OK with this. There are freelance translators at all government offices earning a fortune. When I went to register my sales contracts at the Limassol tax office, I discovered that tax records were kept manually. After he put his coffee to one side and stopped examining family photographs with his friend, the inspector extracted my tax details from a large tome with handwritten entries. The Larnaca office was at least more friendly and efficient.

Parliament conspired with the banks and property developers to withhold title deeds from purchasers so that banks would not foreclose on unpaid land mortgages taken out by property developers. This is a national disgrace which has discouraged overseas property buyers from investing in Cyprus and has directly led to the collapse of the property market in Cyprus. Over one hundred thousand property owners are still waiting for title deeds while government officials sit sipping coffee all day while they wait to retire.

I am retired and rely on rental from my properties for a living. Where does Mr Votsis think that my wife and I are going to find the money to pay these taxes after waiting nine years? Cyprus should have taught the Troika some basic lessons in economics. Do the IMF and ECB really think that raising taxes and pulling massive amounts of liquidity out of the economy is the way to go? Even property developers can see the stupidity in this.

Cyprus needs to print its own money instead of selling its assets at massive discounts to the ECB for Euros. What in the Maastricht Treaty prevents us from having an official and an unofficial currency? Newly printed money, backed by local property held by Cyprus Banks should be used to pay for state expenditure. Only a fool would fail to see that the country has already been thrown out of the Eurozone in spite of what José Manuel Barroso says.


John Morgan, Oroklini

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