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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-13-2012 02:34 PM
Michael J Roberts
Re: Danger - greek taxes

Hi all

We are free, before I tell the story, here are some facts:
1. our boat is 14m long
2. we arrived in Rhodes in 2003 from Turkey and got a Transit Log
3. we sail about ten weeks a year then put the boat on the hard and lodge our Transit Log with the Preveza customs
4. we get our Transit Log stamped once or twice each year as we potter aroun the Ionian
5. in all that time no Port Police have ever asked us to pay the Reciprocal Tax
6. two years ago we were given a photocopy of the law by the Zakinthos Police but no mention was made about paying anything

Now the story. We sat in dread for about five days, watched over by a big coast guard boat (this could be my paranoia). Then we rang the local lawyer we had asked to help us. She was ill, out of action for days, days we could not endure. So we went to the Port Police, I had 1,000 euros in cash in a plastic bag in my pocket. We spoke to the head policeman, he was sympathetic, there were no other goons in the office except one young guy who interpreted. The mood was different: "Of course we didn't expect you to come up with 9,500 euros" Within minutes a deal was done - we would pay the first year's tax and "Put that money away, you take it to the Tax Office in the square." Every thing was done very correctly - pay the cash at the Tax Office, take the receipt back to the Police.

The calculation is this 14.68 euros per meter x 14 meters x 4 lots of three months + 23% tax = 1010 euros.

We have eight years to go and every year another 1010 euros will be added.

The Port Police seem to have a procedures manual called "Yachtsmen" - this contains the law. Do not be confused with another law which exemts boats under 15m - this "Special Tax" law was repealed two years ago.

When I get back to Sydney in August I will scan the documents detailing the law and send them to anyone who is interested.

Happy sailing all
07-13-2012 12:21 AM
Re: Danger - greek taxes

Thanks very much for this extra information Geoff. Yes, this looks like the law we are dealing with. Using a conversion I found on the internet (Convert Euros (EUR) and Greek Drachmas (GRD): Currency Exchange Rate Conversion Calculator) the 5,000 Drachmas converts to EUR14.67 per metre, which is the same (less a Euro cent) than the figure Michael quotes. I guess there could have been amendments in the detail of the law since 1999, but this is a great start.

We are heading off cruising for a few weeks now, so won't do any more on this for a while. We will post if there are any developments.
07-12-2012 04:24 PM
Re: Danger - Greek taxes

Thanks for that update, Periwinkle Ė as Michael hasnít posted again, maybe you will keep us informed.

A quick search came up with the relevant law, from 1999, although, as taxes are in drachma, it has probably been updated since then.

LAW 2743
Recreational vessels and other provisions.

6. a) On foreign flag private recreational vessels a special compensatory contribution in favour of the State will be imposed, for a three-month period of stay, in consideration of the facilities provided to them during their stay in the country.

b) Such contribution is fixed at the amount of five thousand drachmas (GRD 5,000) for each metre of the private recreational vessel's length overall and it will become due and payable as of the conclusion of the three-month period. The contribution shall accrue from the date of entry of the vessel in the Greek territorial waters to the conclusion of the vessel's three-month stay in Greece and, then, to the conclusion of each next following three-month period. If the vessel leaves the country prior to the conclusion of the three-month period but she enters again the country within a period of one month, then such contribution will be due and payable upon the conclusion of three months, but the time period preceding the vessel's exit will be taken into account.

c) The coast guard authority, in addition to the sanctions laid down in this law, will be entitled to prohibit the departure of a private recreational vessel until the contribution due is paid.

d) No contribution will be imposed on private recreational vessels flying the flag of a member country of the European Union (EU), of a country of the European Economic Area (EEA) or the flag of one of the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), excluding Switzerland, on condition that the EU Treaty is in force and effect in the territory of the State in which the ship registers (in which these vessels are recorded) are kept.
07-12-2012 11:56 AM
Re: Danger - greek taxes

Originally Posted by tdw View Post
I'm still only guessing here but I figure this is a case of "everybody has been doing it and not getting caught" .... only this time they did.
It sure sounds that way in this case. The most telling information from the "aggrieved party" is not in the details he posted, but in the info he has chosen NOT to post.
07-12-2012 06:18 AM
Re: Danger - Greek taxes

We are an Australian boat cruising in Greece, we know Michael (the original poster) and can provide some additional information.

The tax is not the VAT. Michael's boat is VAT paid so that is not an issue for them. (It is an issue for us as our Australian registered boat is not EU-VAT paid so we have to manage our time in the EU not to exceed 18 months or be prepared to pay VAT). It is worth noting that EU boats are not liable for the tax (EU countries have already contributed enormously to Greece's maritime infrastructure as evidenced by the many port reconstruction projects funded by the EU as well as the losses they have made with the recent write-down of Greek Bonds).

Recently we have decided to stay in Greece for longer than 3 months. Even before learning of Michael's situation we started making enquiries about paying the tax. Since hearing Michael's story our enquiries have taken on more urgency. We have had frustrations with the Greek Port Police and Customs.

We originally entered Greece on Samos Island and the Customs officer there gave us a very clear lecture about the tax that Michael refers to. He told us that if the boat stays in Greece more than 3 months then we will be liable for the tax - and quoted an amount of about EUR250 for our 13 metre boat for each complete 3 month period. When we checked at Gytheon (in the Peloponnese) the Port Police officer there was able to quickly check his computer and give us the same information. So it seems that there are some officials in the Greek system who are aware of the tax.

However, since then we have enquired at two other locations and the Port Police and Customs appeared to have had no knowledge of the tax - even when pushed (and of course you can only push officials very gently). On one of these visits we even watched as a New Zealand boat checked out of the port and was only charged EUR20 despite having been in Greece for 8 months. The NZ skipper knew that he should probably have been changed more (he had EUR700 in his pocket in anticipation) but understandably did not push the point. These were the same officials that Michael has been dealing with for the 8-or-so years his boat has been in the country.

We expect to be spending more time in Greece in the future and do not want to end up in Michael's situation as a result of incompetent officials. We want to stay within the law and pay any taxes due (so we can sleep at night). We have asked Michael to send the details of the relevant law (which he now has a copy of).

It is anybody's guess about what might happen!
07-11-2012 09:01 PM
Re: Danger - greek taxes

Originally Posted by HeartsContent View Post
Socialism and poverty, how they cling to each other!
Internet forums and glib, ridiculously oversimplified and irrelevant comments, how they cling to each other.

That contributes nothing to this thread - it belongs Off-Topic, if anywhere.
07-11-2012 08:59 PM
Re: Danger - greek taxes

Originally Posted by HeartsContent View Post
Socialism and poverty, how they cling to each other!
There's a whole subforum set aside for those remarks. Can we stick, at least marginally, to discussing the issue of this person's boat and the taxes they owe. Generalised comments about socialism, free-markets, etc are not what people come to read about in sailing/boat related threads.
07-11-2012 06:42 PM
Re: Danger - greek taxes

What is the tax rate if I import a boat into the US ? Maybe it varies from state to state but I remember when contemplating buying a boat in the US that I had 90 days to remove it from US waters or taxes kicked in.

Situation here is most likely the same and the boat has simply sat in Greece for umpteen years. Greece has been know in the past for being very lax about tax collection, their current woes have no doubt hardened their resolve.

I'm still only guessing here but I figure this is a case of "everybody has been doing it and not getting caught" .... only this time they did.
07-11-2012 05:54 PM
Re: Danger - greek taxes

Originally Posted by DavidB.UK View Post
Can anybody tell me what the taxes are actually for?

For the privilege of entering Greek waters?
Or for spending money in the local shop and supermarkets?
For eating in local restaurants?

What are these taxes actually for?
They are to support the welfare state that is Greece...
07-11-2012 05:19 PM
Re: Danger - greek taxes

Originally Posted by DavidB.UK View Post
Can anybody tell me what the taxes are actually for?

For the privilege of entering Greek waters?
Or for spending money in the local shop and supermarkets?
For eating in local restaurants?

What are these taxes actually for?
What are any taxes "for". Sometimes there was an original purpose, sometimes not but the taxes all end up being used by the taxing authority to pay for all the things that taxing authority provides and the costs of administering that authority. Is British road tax still used for mainlining (err maintaining - damn spell check) the roads as originally intended? No, it just goes into the exchequer. Same the world over.
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