Sailors must cough-up from 1 January

All cruising yachtsmen will face a new tax in Greece from 1 January 2014. Yachting Monthly warned about the tax in the January issue, but since we published it has now been given the go-ahead, the Cruising Association reveals.

All yachts and motorboats between 7m and 12m will have to pay up to 400 euros (£335) 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.”

He went on to say the Minister of Marine and Aegean 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.

He went on to say he had been told the aims of the tax were to “strengthen public revenue and corresponded 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.

Mr Baerselman, added: “I am working with the Swedish, French and German yachting organisations active in the Mediterranean. We are sharing information and working out the common approach looking for concessions from the Greek tax. We are aware we can’t change the tax as it is. We are also informing the Italians about our progress.

“Each of us will be contacting embassies and we will be advising our members and the public on lines of approach to take which may be successful.”