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Portugal’s “sunshine tax” gets full exposure in international press

Just as media sources revealed that Portugal’s “property sales have never been so good”, international news provider Agence France Presse has released the less-than-positive story about top end buyers facing a sunshine tax if their properties have the luxury of ‘good views’.

Taken up in the UK by the Guardian, the story exposes the property sector’s total dissatisfaction – with António Farias Marque of the national association of property owners saying: “The signs are up that the next step will be to tax the air we breathe”.

Tax specialist Ernesto Pinto adds that in the opinion of consumers association DECO, this is a tax that is based on “subjective criteria”.

“The view from a home depends on the individual’s perception”, he told AFP.

But the way the government sees it is that the tax is a form of social justice.

“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”, PS spokesman João Galamba insists.

The tax increases – up to 20% and to be imposed at the discretion of local councils – will only affect high-end properties purchased since the rules changed, however, and any people who have asked for their properties to be valued.

This is a “tiny fraction” of the property market, explains AFP, and thus the notion of social justice remains “fiercely contested”.

The ‘sunshine tax’ became law on Monday, also allowing for a 10% reduction for households overlooking ‘eyesores’ like graveyards.

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