Armenia’s Top Ten Restaurants: What They Pay in Property Tax
The Paravon Restaurant Complex, owned by MP Gagik Tsarukyan, has a property value of 2.866 billion AMD (US$5.9 million), the highest of any restaurant in Armenia.
Verin Ptghni Mayor Gevorg Poghosyan, where Paravon is located, refused to provide Hetq with the amount the posh restaurant pays in property tax, arguing it was a “business secret”.
Such an argument is more than ludicrous since property taxes are a major source of revenue for towns and villages in the country when they are drafting their budgets. It’s public information. Evidently, what Paravon pays in property tax is not available to the public.
Hetq contacted MP Iveta Tonoyan, Tsarukyan’s press spokesperson twice on the matter. She promised to speak to Mayor Poghosyan and then get back to us in two hours. We never heard from her.
So, we don’t know how much Paravon pays in property tax. However, in response to our inquiry, the State Property Cadastre said that according to their calculations the restaurant’s annual property tax should amount to 8.599 million AMD ($18,000).
We should note that the Cadastre’s property appraisals are usually much lower than the market value.
We should note here that Armenia’s property tax law states that the base tax rate for commercial or public usage is 0.3 %
In second place in terms of property value, at 1.393 billion AMD is the Parvana Restaurant Complex owned by MP Samvel Aleksanyan’s wife Shogherina Mkrtchyan. (She owns 100% shares in the company Parvana Litch, the legal owner of the restaurant.)
It pays 938,000 in yearly property tax according to Yerevan’s Kentron District Office. This is less than restaurants further down the list in terms of property value. If we calculate what Parvana should actually be paying (0.3%) then we come up with 4.180 million AMD – almost four times what it’s now paying.
When we wrote to the State Property Cadastre on the matter, we were more than surprised when they agreed with our calculation, stating that Parvana should be paying 4.180 million AMD.
Parvana, open for business since 2005, has effectively paid 16 million AMD less in property tax ever since.
Has Yerevan’s Kentron District Office, where the restaurant is located, struck a deal with MP Aleksanyan allowing Parvana to pay less? If so, what is the Office getting in return?
Most of the top ten restaurants in Armenia in terms of property value have ties to former or current government officials.
The Bellagio Restaurant is owned by Sargis Margaryan, brother of former MP Grigor Margaryan.
The Florence Restaurant is owned by Tigran Karapetyan, son of Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan.
The Harsnakar restaurant Complex is owned by former MP and current president of the Football Federation of Armenia, Rouben Hayrapetyan.;
Here’s a list of the top ten restaurants by property value in Armenia and the property tax paid (in AMD)
(* The property tax listed for Paravon, 5.273m. is the estimated amount it should be paying)
Five of these are in Yerevan’s Kentron District (Hrazdan Gorge and Myasnikyan Avenue)
Photos: Saro Baghdasaryan