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Happy New Year: Now the IRS Even has the Power to Revoke your Passport

On : 09 January, 2016

By : Duffey Asher

In : US Tax News

Yes, the IRS always has interesting ways of ringing in the new tax year. If you have delinquent federal tax debt of $50,000 or more, you are now at risk of losing your US passport—Happy New Year.

This new law went into effect January 1 after President Obama signed into law the “Fast Act”, mainly a highway and infrastructure funding bill, which includes a new section 7345 for the Internal Revenue Code entitled “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies”. This section gives the IRS the right to have US passports revoked for persons having a serious tax debt of $50,000 or more (including penalties and interest).

Why are passports covered in the tax code, you ask? Why is this provision in a highway funding bill, you ask? Is this even constitutional, you ask? All good questions, but they don’t change the fact that the IRS does now have the authority to leave one US passport-less if that minimum amount of debt is reached, and that is not a big amount when including penalties and interest. How will it be implemented? In these early days that remains unclear; perhaps the IRS could have renewals or new applications declined or in the toughest case perhaps they could revoke current passports. Certainly it would be a risk to be travelling in or out of (or within) the US on that passport.

You are, or should be, aware of FATCA (Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act), a United States Federal Law requiring United States persons (including those living outside the U.S.) to have annually reported their non-U.S. financial accounts to the  IRS and FinCen /Department of the Treasury. In  relation to this such persons must also report all income received outside of the US in their US income tax report (including those living outside of the US

The penalties for not doing this are high and there are programs provided for one to enter to escape those penalty risks (e.g. OVDP, Streamlined, colloquially called “amnesty” programs). Those programs and FATCA will be discussed in following blogs but for now it is worth noting that the $50,000 of tax debt, which can result in passport loss, could come to both US residents and US persons abroad as a result of not complying with FATCA and other US tax rules, with or without knowledge of required compliance. This is an important subject for US persons with any relationships with a foreign county, even simply a bank account.

All US citizens, living abroad or in the US, should ensure that their IRS tax affairs are in order that they do not have issues with their US passports.

This blog has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal advisor before engaging in any transaction in relation to this information.

First Greek Property Tax Payment DueToday

On : 15 October, 2015

By : Arsinoi Lainiotis

In : Greek Tax News

The Hellenic Ministry of Finance just issued property tax payment notices for all owners of Greek real property. This property tax, referred to in Greek as the “ENFIA (ΕΝΦΙΑ)” can be paid in up to five instalments.

Although invoices were issued with great delay just a few days ago, the first instalment payment is due by Friday, October 30, 2015.If any of the instalmentsare not paid by the designated deadline, interest will be levied.

Tax payment notices (including instalment information) were issued through the on-line portal system, TAXISNET. Taxpayers should not expect to receive any further notification regarding this tax liability through the mail or by any other means.

The good news is that you can review your Greek Tax status at any time and ensure that your payments have been recorded by visiting the Hellenic Ministry of FinanceTAXISNET portal on thewebsite at www.gsis.gr. In order to access your tax records,you must enter your Greek Tax Number and log on with your username and password.

The Greek Property Tax Form (E-9) Explained

On : 01 October, 2015

By : Arsinoi Lainiotis

In : Greek Tax News

Real property interests (i.e. interests in land and/or buildings) owned in Greece must be registered with the Greek Tax Authorities by submitting an E9 PROPERTY DECLARATION FORM.

Each time a taxpayer’s property interests change an amended E9 form must be submitted to the Greek Tax Authorities. This includes when any property interest is sold, purchased, transferred, gifted or acquired by gift and when real property is inherited.

An amended E9 form must also be submitted by the taxpayer if the dimensions of his/her property have changed as a result of “property regularization” pursuant to the amnesty Law on “Unlawful Structures – Law no. 4178/13”.

It is imperative for all Greek taxpayers to ensure that their real property is correctly recorded with the Greek Tax Authorities since amending E-9 forms for past tax years entail significant penalties.

The Changing Landscape of Property Ownership in Greece: Know Your Rights and Obligations

On : 30 September, 2015

By : Katerina Sirouni

In : Greek Property

“Reprinted with permission from The Greek Star. www.thegreekstar.com”

ATHENS, GREECE— As a Greek American who has been educated and lives in Greece, and happens to be an architect, I am continually approached by Chicago area family and friends about how to make sense of the many changes to the Greek property taxes and codes. Chicago is my hometown, and I still maintain a strong connection with the Greek community. I was born in Chicago and lived there until the early 1980’s, when my family returned to Greece.

Questions abound regarding the latest changes in the Greek real estate laws and how the changes affect those that continue to hold property in Greece. The current climate has created great uncertainty, but there is also a “fast tracking” of many new laws, which impact every single land and building owner in Greece.

Of course, the intent of these laws is to improve the real estate market and Greek economy as a whole. This does, however, create issues shorter term. It is my hope, that over the next several months through this series, to help make sense of these laws and help property owners navigate them.

Here, we will focus on four basic and essential areas—basic legal certificates and terms, of which owners of built property or land in Greece will need to be familiar.

 

Illegal Structures (Afthaireta)

As of September 21, 2011, when selling or transferring buildings or land, as an owner you are required to submit a “Declaration of Legality of Property Status”. This certificate describes the “as-built status” of real property—what has actually been built in terms of size and use. Unlike other countries, many buildings in Greece are in violation of building codes and regulations leaving owners who have bought or inherited property throughout the years in the dark of their property’s “as-built status” in comparison to what has been declared on legal building permits or deeds.

 

Energy Performance Certificate – EPC (EnergeiakoPistopoiitiko)

As of January 9, 2012, when selling or renting residential and commercial property, with certain exemptions, all owners are required to submit an “Energy Performance Certificate”. To issue this certificate, an energy inspector conducts an on-site energy survey and determines the level of efficiency in terms of energy consumption.

 

Hellenic Cadastre – National Land Registry (Ktimatologio)

All property and land now must be registered by location and title ownership securing owners their real property regarding its legality. The Greek Government aspires to complete and fully organize the National Cadastre by the year 2020.

 

Electronic Building ID (IllektronikiTaftotitaKtiriou)

All built property in the near future will be registered electronically and assigned a unique “Building ID Code”. Owners will not be able to sell, rent, transfer to family, buy, inherit property or even file a simple “E-9 Tax Form” without a “Building ID Code”. This Electronic Building ID is part of Greece’s effort to create an electronic database for all registered and properly recorded properties. Ultimately, property ownership in Greece will benefit from this database in easing the transfer of property in the future.

Katerina Sirouni was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She is an Architect – Engineer based in Athens, Greece. She received her degree from the National Technical University of Athens in Greece. She is a Licensed Architect, member of the National Technical Chamber in Greece, the Association of Architects in Greece and the Hellenic Energy Inspectorate. www.ksirouni.com or http://www.linkedin.com/pub/katerina-sirouni/25/14a/a15.