Greece's new tax on cruising sailors announced

27.11.2013

If you are thinking of sailing in Greek waters any time soon, there is information here that you will want to know. Britain's Cruising Association, a British organisation for cruising sailors, has announced the latest and most complete information about a new 'circulation tax' to be levied on all leisure craft over 7m spending time in Greek waters. The new regulation applies from 1st January, 2014.

The Cruising Association received the information in Greek, and have interpreted it here:

The tax will apply to small vessels of all nationalities (commercial or leisure) over 7m LOA, as defined on their registration documents, which sail, moor or anchor in Greek waters. The tax will allow circulation for one calendar year. The annual charge will be:

7m - 8m 200

8m 10m 300

10m 12m 400

Over 12m 100/metre

Vessels over 12m have two options to reduce costs; pay 10 per metre per month, or be 'permanently based' in Greece and obtain a 30% discount from the annual fee. Conditions to be met to prove 'permanently based' have yet to be published.

'Electronic' payment will be possible annually in December for the following year, or on entry into Greek waters. 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 in Greece on 1 Jan 2014 will need to pay at their local tax office or port authority to remain in Greece. Receipts for payment must be carried with the DEKPA or transit log, and may be asked for at any time. If proof of payment cannot be produced on request, a penalty fee of 100% (no discounts!) will be added to the tax due.

The circulation tax is not repayable for periods spent outside Greece, but remains valid for the whole period covered by the payment.

There are some confusing definitions in our crude translation which imply that some motor boats under 12m may not have to pay the tax. Sorting this out will call for a proper translation which is being arranged.

At a meeting of the Mediterranean section of the Cruising Association on 21 Nov attended by some 60 representatives, it was recognised that this was a 'done deal'. The most apt response recommended was to seek concessions for categories of sailors most likely to leave Greek waters as a result of this legislation. These were recognised as boats affected by the 'step change' in charges at 12m, and visitors in boats under 12m from other countries, forced to pay a full season tax for a short vsit.

The CA is working out the most effective way to present these arguments to the authorities.

To keep this in context, two and three years back two previous laws were passed introducing circulation taxes for larger vessels. However, in both years, procedures to implement the laws were suspended after very strong objections from influential owners of larger boats.

The proposed law is the result of two years of negotiations between opposing points of view; tourism interests, versus taxation needs. It is a compomise, and as we understand it, it contains some anomalies.