Failure to pay the tax and keep proof of payment on board could mean a detained boat

Cruising sailors in Greece are facing increased costs next year as the Government plans to impose a tax on all leisure and commercial tourist craft.

If the law is imposed, the tax will be introduced on 1 January 2014, as a circulation tax and will mean yachts and motorboats between 7m and 12m will have to pay up to €400 each year.

Vessels of more than 12m will be charged €100 per metre every year with concessions for permanently based yachts of 30% or a choice to pay €10 per metre per month.

The Cruising Association, based in Limehouse in London’s Docklands, has been monitoring the situation in Greece as it has almost 1,500 members sailing throughout the islands.

CA member, Jim Baerselman, who has sailed in Greek waters for more than 30 years, said this was a significant tax which could put many people off cruising in Greece.

He has been in contact with a Greek tax accountant, who said: ‘The tax will be charged for all recreational and commercial ships and small boats, regardless of their flag, which sail, are moored or anchored in Greek waters.’

Keep proof of payment

Mr Baerselman added that the Minister of Marine and Aegean had said yachts or motorboats sailing in Greek waters needed to keep proof of payment with their registration document which is issued when entering Greece.

Failure to pay the tax and keep proof of payment on board could mean the boat would be detained by the Port, Tax and Customs Authority and a fine of 100% of the tax due to be paid imposed.

Mr Baerselman said the proposed law also stated any boat cruising out of Greek waters after paying the annual tax would not be liable for a refund but the payment would remain valid for the current year.

Why the tax?

The aims of the tax are to ‘strengthen public revenue’ and to ‘correspond to the type and charges made by neighbouring countries, but not to act as a disincentive to tourists.’

The proposed tax is part of an omnibus bill sweeping up a range of detailed legislation and is an addition to a general maritime bill passed in the Greek parliament last month which omitted reference to leisure craft pending consultations.

A final decision on the proposed tax is due to be made in the Greek parliament by the end of November.