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Property tax discrimination

Dear Editor,

I have been visiting the Portuguese Algarve for over 20 years and five years ago my son purchased an apartment so that I could spend more of my retirement years in a climate and an area that I enjoyed.

Our arrangement was that I could live in the apartment and that I would settle all bills that accrued from the property whilst I resided in it.

Over the past five years I have personally settled all bills, the property tax  has averaged out around the sum of €1,600 per annum. Imagine my surprise when a few days ago I attended the fiscal office in Quarteira to pay the property tax due on the apartment, only to be confronted with a demand this year for a sum of €4,146.02.

On enquiring why my property was now levied at a sum that was two-and-a-half times more than my neighbours (all apartments are the same), I was informed that as my son resided in Dubai, which in their words is described as a “Tax Paradise”, I must pay this inflated figure.

Although I attempted to explain that although my son owned the apartment, he had never visited Portugal and that the overheads were my responsibility or that I could not see that where he lived should be of any business to the Portuguese authorities, or for that matter how much he earned as long as all taxes were paid on time.

I further feel that this law, if that it is what it is, is discriminatory between one nationality and another and I have always understood that discrimination, whatever the category, whether it be class, sex, colour or creed, is illegal in the European Union.

Although I am a 79 year old pensioner who has spent my working life, and paying my taxes, in the UK, I have no alternative but to pay this legalised blackmail in the short term, but my faith in the Portuguese authorities, whom I have found to be most helpful in the past, has gone forever and as soon as I can find a buyer for the apartment I shall be off to another country where the authorities treat all individuals alike and do not use discrimination.

David R Bance