Payment of tax delayed until April

A new yacht cruising tax implemented by the Greek government last week which was originally due to be paid within 10 days has now been delayed until early April 2019. This action has been taken due, in part, to the intervention of the Cruising Association, the international body for yacht cruising sailors.

Talk of this tax, known as the TEPAH, has been ongoing for some time but it was only last week that the Greek government made known that it had been introduced and that payments were due within 10 days. Following the Cruising Association’s intervention, April 2, 2019 has now been set as the payment deadline.

There is confusion over exactly how the TEPAH will operate other than it is supposed to be linked to the TAXIsnet section of the Greek tax system and that payment should be made online as an e-tax.

A new e-registration scheme was also introduced recently for certain categories of yachts and commercial craft, but it is not clear whether the TEPAH is in anyway related to this.

With Greece’s strategic ambitions to significantly expand its marine tourism sector over the coming years involving both yachts and cruise ships, there are strong views and opposition to the tax in that it is in conflict with growth plans. This subject was mentioned in the opening session of the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference in Athens last month, which suggested that plans for the tax should be withdrawn or changed.

In a statement, the Cruising Association said it understands that all vessels will have to register at the website and pay the tax online. The website is in Greek and the CA believes it is not yet set up for this tax.

Chris Robb of the CA, who has been involved with the tax since its start, says: “I have severe reservations that an e-tax can be designed and launched in such a short time. I fear that the tax will be launched on a semi-manual basis with significant involvement of Port Police, with all the training issues that were seen with the introduction of the ‘new’ DEKPA. The CA will be working hard to prevent such a disaster.”

In response to the tax, the association has submitted a nine-page document to the head of the Indirect Taxation Implementation department, laying out the necessities for the registration and payment process, so that the implementation can be clear and easy to do online.

The Swedish and German Yachting organisations are also working with the association in addressing the issues raised by the new tax.

With yacht chartering having significantly increased in Greece this year, the lack of clarity of the introduction of the tax and in meeting its payment requirements will not help this important part of the country’s marine tourism sector.

Non-compliance with the tax carries statutory fines. The Cruising Association and other yachting bodies are endeavouring to achieve better communication about the tax and a longer payment period.