ECONOMY

Tourism professionals want competitive VAT

tourism-professionals-want-competitive-vat

Tourism professionals are asking the government to bring value-added tax on tourism businesses back down to competitive levels of between 8 and 10 percent from 2017, speaking of an overtaxed sector that will not be sustainable after 2016 if VAT rates remain at the current level.

Addressing the annual conference of the Association of Hellenic Tourism Enterprises (SETE) on Tuesday, president Andreas Andreadis referred to the numerous tax hikes affecting tourism, such as the VAT increases to 13 percent on accommodation and to 23 percent for food service and the phasing out of the 30 percent discount on VAT rates on the Aegean islands, as well as the growing costs of transportation, rising admission fees at museums and archaeological sites, and higher prices for a range of consumer goods.

The SETE head proposed that the fiscal gap created by making VAT rates the same as those at rival destinations could be covered by the introduction of a tax on peer-to-peer property rentals, the improved collection of VAT, the imposition of fines on illegal accommodation, and the mandatory use of credit or debit cards. In this context, he estimated the number of people who rent out property for tourism accommodation without paying any taxes at some 100,000.