Saturday December 20, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greece taxes foreign-flagged ships for first time amid crisis

By Michelle Wiese Bockmann & Tom Stoukas

Greece will tax merchant ships managed by companies based in the country and sailing under foreign flags for the first time ever as the nation’s debt crisis spurs the government to raise revenue.

Amendments to a bill passed by lawmakers at the weekend imposed a so-called tonnage tax on the vessels, the Ministry of Finance in Athens said today by e-mail. The government aims to raise 80 million euros ($106 million) this year and 60 million euros in 2014 from the levy, the state-run Athens News Agency reported Jan. 9.

Greek shipowners control the largest portion of the world merchant fleet. The state is targeting an estimated 762 owners, who pay no tax on international earnings brought into the country under rules incorporated in the constitution since 1967. Lobbying by owners barred the imposition of any further taxes, Theodore Veniamis, president of the Union of Greek Shipowners, said by e-mail Jan. 14.

“Shipowners and the management companies have been excluded, as I had to convince the government to do so,” he said.

The e-mail didn’t show when the tax would take effect. The measure “imposes the levy for the first time,” the ministry said. The tax applies only to tonnage of foreign-flagged vessels, rather than their earnings, Veniamis said. A tonnage tax is charged by a country where a ship is registered and flagged and is based on the vessel’s size and capacity.

3,848 vessels

Ships controlled by Greek companies and flagged elsewhere came to 3,848 totaling 153.1 million gross tons as of March 2011, according to figures on the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping website. That compared with 2,014 vessels totaling 43.4 million tons sailing under Greece’s flag as of the end of the year. The data were the latest available.

Greek shipowners remitted more than $175 billion in untaxed earnings in 10 years until 2011, according to Bank of Greece figures cited in the union’s annual report.

Companies from cargo handlers to travel agents that benefit from Greece’s position as a leading vessel-owning nation might be vulnerable to sudden changes in taxes on the shipping industry, the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research, a private non-profit researcher, said in a study last week. Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NM), a Piraeus, Greece-based vessel owner, contributed to the study, it showed.

Job losses?

“An abrupt, and without due care, change of the taxation regime in the shipping sector may lead to reduction of the economic activity in the sector and across the economy, significant job losses and even lower net tax revenues,” the foundation said.

Greeks controlled 16.2 percent of the world merchant fleet by early 2011, giving them the largest share of capacity, according to the latest figures from the Geneva-based United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Contributions from providing marine-transport services indirectly and directly accounted for 6.1 percent of Greek gross domestic product in 2009, generating 2.7 billion euros to support 192,000 jobs, the foundation said. The industry’s contribution may have since “increased substantially” given the country’s economic contraction, it said.

Greece’s economy may have shrunk as much as 6.5 percent in 2012, the fifth year of recession, according to forecasts in the 2013 budget. The country had a 15.9 billion-euro budget deficit last year, excluding spending by state-controlled enterprises. [Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Thursday Jan 17, 2013 (12:49)  
Workers rush to get early retirement
Piraeus Containter Terminal goes from strength to strength
Moscovici: Creditor inspections to become less frequent and ‘lighter’
Property capital gains tax halt
Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
The government over the weekend appeared to backpedal on proposed amendments widely seen as compromising legislation protecting Greek forests as well as Plaka, Athens’s old quarter. The bill...
Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
Merchant Marine Minister Miltiades Varvitsiotis and Deputy Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michalis Papadopoulos have signed a decision paving the way for the country’s first hydroplan...
Inside News
BASKETBALL
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb ...
SOCCER
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal announced his retirement from football on Friday, a day before his last match. Abidal said he will finish after playing for Olympiakos agains...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
The big picture
In his second term, US President Barack Obama is taking steps to enshrine his legacy and solidify America’s standing in the 21st century. His recent decision to normalize relations between t...
EDITORIAL
Get your facts straight
The danger that political discourse in Greece will sink to the basest levels of vulgarity is already more than apparent from the allegations we have heard bandied about over recent days. The...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
2. Corfu to host country’s first hydroplane strip
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Police gets new communications system
5. Most Greeks say they recycle daily
6. Probe into revenues of 2 mln euros in Halkidiki municipality
more news
Today
This Week
1. The big picture
2. Get your facts straight
3. Political upheaval sharpens after bribe claims with threats and insinuations
4. Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
5. Changes on E9 property declarations possible until end-year
6. Police gets new communications system
Today
This Week
1. Juncker warns Greeks against voting 'extreme forces' into power
2. Romanos and the dilemma
3. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
4. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
5. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
6. High stakes
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.