BUSINESS

Tax checks on homesharing to widen

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Property, Tourism, Taxation

Tax dodgers who fail to declare income from renting out properties will soon start to feel the heat as the state continues its efforts to contain the growing phenomenon of undeclared revenues made through letting websites such as Booking.com and Airbnb.

Booking.com is currently asking hosts in Greece to submit their short-term leasing registration number for their properties by the end of November in order for them to keep using the platform’s services. In an email, Booking.com has informed hosts that Greek authorities have turned their attention to illegal accommodation providers and that for the company to ensure it does not promote such lettings it is obliged by law to display the registration numbers of properties available through its site for short-term rental.

Airbnb is heading in the same direction: The leading holiday letting website is redesigning its platforms so that Greek owners can declare their registration number for short-term rentals.

Each property that is available for short lets is required to get a Property Register Number (AMA) through the website of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue, to which Booking.com refers hosts if they have queries.

However, Finance Ministry data show that only 15,000 landlords out of an estimated total of 45,000 have registered with Taxisnet to declare revenues from this kind of activity. That means two out of three owners are hiding revenues.

Ministry officials say that the first inspections and cross-checking will take place in early December, after the deadline has passed, and any owners found not to have obtained an ANA will face fines of up to 5,000 euros.

IAPR is planning spot checks focusing on landlords who have not registered with the online platform, who will be very easy to identify by locating the properties advertised on sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com etc.

The tax inspectors will also compare revenues declared on the IAPR platform with money forwarded to the bank accounts of the owners, as IAPR will have access to data on money forwarded to the Greek banking system.

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