Shop keepers in Paphos old town whose businesses have suffered during the ongoing upgrading works are angry over annual municipal tax bills which have to be paid before the end on the month.
The bills arrived on Tuesday and must be paid in full by December 29, otherwise a ten per cent late fee will be charged, said one of the shopkeepers. However, having to pay for a full year when for months their shops were virtually inaccessible at a time when there is the least custom enraging the owners.
“My bill is for €515, this is way too much, and there are no tourists and no locals shopping. I won’t be able to pay this on time,” said one shop owner with a store on Makarios Avenue.
He hopes that he will be permitted to pay off the amount in instalments.
The area, which includes the municipal market and Makarios Avenue, is known as ‘the business district’, a translation from Greek, and yet it doesn’t live up to its name, he said.
“The mayor needs to come out in support of us, he is very vocal and good at communicating and he needs to encourage more people to visit the area.”
A second shop owner said the tax demands come on top of protracted delays in upgrading work in the old town which has seen business slashed and forced some to shut up shop.
“There are no concessions from the municipality and where do they expect us to find the money to pay these taxes? There are no customers and the upgrading work is still ongoing, trade has fallen and they have sent this bill giving us very little time to come up with this sort of money.
“Where do they think we can find this sort of money at the end of the year when there are no visitors, and just before Christmas?”
She said that a better approach would see the authorities issue bills in March 2018 when custom starts to pick up ahead of the summer season. Also, to grant a reduction for businesses in the area, and to give them a reasonable amount of time to settle their bills.
The shop keepers say they are appealing to the mayor and the tax department to examine their plight and request concessions be implemented.