Sunday, 10 July 2011

NEWS: Greece Gets Tough on Yacht Owners

The Times Newspaper recently reported* that the Greek customs agency in charge of ship taxes is currently visiting every single vessel registered as residing in Greece, to check whether its vessel type has been correctly designated. The agency reports that in the past an estimated 1,400 yachts in Greece were designated as various forms of merchant vessel and even fishing vessel. This led to some paying less, or no, tax and others actually earning subsidies. 

Now, amidst the tight austerity regime brought in to balance the Greek budget deficit, all yacht owners will be required to pay tax on the same scale, and checks will be made to ensure that all vessels are correctly designated.

The Times reports that the new 'stricter' regime has led to unusual numbers of empty berths in the marinas of Piraeus, just outside Athens, where many of the yachts which were apparently incorrectly registered have decided to head to new homes in other parts of the Mediterranean, notably in Turkey.

However, with the proximity of Athens to the major yacht destinations of the Med' and the benefit that luxury yachts bring to the local economy, irregardless of registration information (hiring crew, using yards, paying berthing fees, buying parts and victuals and drawing in wealthy tourists to the area), we suspect that any reportedly empty berths will not be vacant for long.

* 'Not yet a revolution, but a feeling of nothing to lose', Charles Bremner, Athens, published in the Times, twenty first of June 2011


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