Tax harmonisation is set to allow retail property developers to expand in new markets in south-eastern Europe, according to leading property company Jones Lang & LaSalle, writes Ben Griffiths in Cannes. Revealing the property developer's latest 'Shopping for new markets' report at the MAPIC retail property show in Cannes, JLL partner Vince Prior said countries in south-eastern Europe would be opened up to retail developments following harmonisation of national tax regimes across the EU. Greece is a country most likely to benefit in development terms as it has suffered from particularly heavy taxation, discouraging developers from investing in shopping centres. 'As south-eastern Europe is drawn into the economic mainstream its consumers are going to demand fashion and consumer durables in vast quantities,' the report said. In Greece, an annual tax has been imposed on the value of real estate since 1 January 1997. Additionally, there are 40 different types of property tax, mostly payable by the owner. These include tax on properties and income, municipal and third-party taxes and tax on construction. While exemptions and allowances are available, the proposed harmonisation of taxes across the European Union is likely to lead to a different and more beneficial tax regime in the future. Body Shop International has been present in Greece since 1979. General manager Nickolaos Mastrandreas said: 'Tax based on retail turnover is payable to the local authorities. But I think the future looks promising, especially if Greece joins the European monetary union.'
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