'Sailing in Greece - it used to be so idyllic'
Britain's Cruising Association (CA), which provides services, information, help and advice to sailors worldwide, has been monitoring the newly introduced tax on visiting cruising sailors in Greece. Why Greece wants to penalise, not encourage the sailing fraternity, which can bring economic benefit to this challenged country is beyond understanding, but here is the CA's latest information:
A new Greek Cruising law, in effect from 1 January 2014, introduces a tax on leisure boats over 7m LOA afloat in Greek waters.
The original was in Greek, and what follows is a translation. Although the law is in force, its method of implementation is still not clear. The CA is negotiating with the Greek Department of Shipping and Aegean Sea to clarify how the law will be applied, and to obtain concessions from some unacceptable features. Our opening email to the Greek Ministry negotiations is attached.
Our view of the effect of the law may not be the same as the actual implementation. It is:
The fee is payable for boats afloat from 1st January, 2014. It will cover one calendar year's stay. Vessels above 12m LOA have the option to pay one month at a time (whether calendar or any 30 days is not clear). Amounts are:
7m - 8m €200
Above 8m – 10m €300
Above 10m – 12m €400
Above 12m €100/metre
The registration document LOA will be used for calculating fees. Vessels over 12m have two options to reduce costs; pay €10 per metre for the month ahead, or be 'permanently based' in Greece and obtain a 30% discount from the annual fee. So 12.7m LOA will pay €1,270 pa (discounted by 30% if applicable) or €127 per month
Receipts for fees must be carried with ship's papers, and may be asked for at any time. The receipt is valid for the whole period of pre-payment, and remains valid if the boat leaves Greek waters and returns later. Rebates are not payable for periods out of Greek waters.
'Electronic' payment will be possible annually in December for the following year, or on entry into Greek waters, either through tax offices, or through port police offices. When arriving in a port of entry, EU boats obtaining a DEKPA, and non-EU boats obtaining a Transit Log, can pay cash on arrival. Boats already afloat in Greece on 1 Jan on any year will need to pay at their local tax office or port authority to remain in Greece.
If a receipt can't be produced on request, the boat can be detained until a full fee has been paid, plus a 100% penalty fee.
1. The proposed law is the result of two years of negotiations between opposing points of view; tourism interests, versus taxation needs. Strong objections have been voiced within Greece by a consortium of marina owners, but this appears to have been ineffective. We must expect this tax to be implemented. It could be challenged through European courts on the grounds that it breaks rules concerning 'visiting means of tranport'. However, this may have undesirable side effects, since Greece does not (currently) insist that its own regulations apply to boats staying in Greece longer than 180 days - a valuable concession.
2. The first paragraph of the law apparently conflicts with UNCLOS lll, the right of innocent passage. We have drawn the attention of the British Foreign Office to this. It is probably an un-intended consequence, rather than an intention, but it must be corrected.
3. The CA is seeking clarifications of the law, and concessions for categories of sailors most affected. A draft of the letter and email sent to the Ministry of Maritime and Aegean is attached. We are working with other national sailing organisations in order to obtain these concessions. The need for concessions for boats currently afloat in Greece is already recognised.
4. We recommend that individuals affected by this law email their yards, marinas, or the Greek embassy. In addition to any personal views you have, please repeat any of the points made in our email which are relevant to your circumstances. This will assist our negotiations. Your planning should not rely on such concessions being granted!
5. It is possible that implementation of this tax will lead to questions about how much time you (personally) spend in Greece. People planning to spend more than 182 days per 365 days in Greece are, by EU definition, tax residents of Greece. We strongly recommend that potential Greek tax residents review the following effects:
a) the need to make tax returns
b) the need to prove you are importing money into a Greek bank account
c) the fact that valuable assets (such as a boat) are taxable above certain thresholds.
Feedback is welcome to the Cruising Association, by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Cruising Association:
The Cruising Association is one of Britain's leading organisations for cruising sailors. With more than 4000 members across the globe, they provide services, information, help and advice to sailors worldwide. Founded in 1908 to meet the needs of cruising sailors, the CA has been a home to many of the great names in sailing. It publishes an almanac which covers the whole of the British Isles and Atlantic seaboard of Europe and has local representatives all over the world. The CA has 19 UK and worldwide Sections providing specialised knowledge and events wherever their members cruise.
by Cruising Association
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5:51 AM Sun 12 Jan 2014GMT
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