The Lithuanian parliament came several votes short of accepting a proposal to expand the real estate tax. The bill was sent back to the government for improvement.
The proposed amendment would make owners of properties valued above 100,000 euros subject to the real estate tax, which currently kicks in at 220,000 euros.
Forty-one MPs voted in favour of further considering the amendment, 26 were against and 25 abstained.
Opposition MP Mykolas Majauskas of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats asked Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka whether the tax would affect many single people, especially retirees. According to the minister, there would be very few cases of people finding themselves subject to the tax upon the death of their spouse.
Meanwhile Ingrida Šimonytė, another conservative MP and chair of the parliamentary Committee on Audit, said that rich people would try to avoid paying the tax by transfering their personal assets “to their companies”.
Liberal MP Simonas Gentvilas was angry that the proposed amendment left farmers exempt from the real estate tax.
The Finance Ministry estimates that the expanded real estate tax would bring in an additional 9.2 million euros.