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Greece: New Cruising Tax - 19 days and counting...

by noonsite.com 19 Mar 2019 10:53 UTC
Halki, Greece © SY Big Sky

In the absence of any instructions from the Greek Authorities, the Cruising Association are speculating that at least initially, skippers will be required to register and pay the tax (the TEPAH) manually using a paper form (obtained by one of their members currently in Greece).

The form can be downloaded here

If this happens, then it will be a case of filling in the form and taking it along with your DEKPA to the Port Police. The Port Police will tell you how to pay - most likely by visiting the local bank, paying the cash by credit card and returning to the Port Police with the receipt.

Your receipt will then be entered on to your DEKPA/Transit Log and Registration document.

The online registration and payment system intended to be introduced and tested prior to the 2nd April, has still not been introduced.

Skippers are recommended to take several copies of the form to the Port Police.

Important Points

The above process will work for cruising yachts not yet in Greece, who can deal with payment of the tax on arrival. However what about yachts that are currently in Greece, with no owners on board, left for the winter while the owners travel back to their home country?

We asked the CA the following questions:

Noonsite: Vessel owners will have to pay from the 2nd of April 2019 if their boat is in Greek waters, even if they are not using the boat (i.e. they have left it in Greece on the hard or in a marina for the winter). What happens if the owner is not actually in Greece on the 2nd and can't pay on time?

CA: An e-registration system and payment system is planned, but not working yet. So they cannot pay that way. In theory they should put their yacht "Out of Use" if not using it. But as they are not there, they cannot do this. It is possible to appoint an agent to do this on your behalf, if you have left keys, ships papers, DEKPA etc. in Greece with the boatyard or marina. However, 19 days is very little time to get this organised. We have insisted that there is a transition period to give owners a chance. Fines for not paying on time will be 10 times the monthly rate.

Noonsite: How will the tax be charged?

CA: The Tax is to be paid monthly. Months run 1st to 30th. You pay for a whole month even for 3 days (i.e. enter Greek waters on the 27th May, and depart on June 30th is two months Tax). It's possible to pay for several months at a time and in advance. There is an annual discount, but this runs January to December, so not available until 2020. Get it in December and you get 10% off your annual fee - plus we think there is an additional 20%. Some doubt though.

Noonsite: You mention above about putting your boat "Out of Use" so you don't have to pay the tax. Can you explain how this is done.

CA: If leaving your boat in Greece, it will be possible to put it "Out of Use" by lodging your ships papers with the Port Police prior to leaving the boat and withdrawing them when starting to sail again -similar in effect to putting a boat in customs bond (which is what non-EU boats have to do). We believe that in or out of the Water will qualify, but not 100% certain.

Further comment from the CA:

The Cruising Association has today learnt that it is the intention of the Greek Government to implement the Cruising Tax (TEPAH) without a working On-line registration and payment system, on the 2nd April 2019, in just 15 days time.

A working on-line method was promised which could be done remotely, but the Greeks have reneged on this and now require it is done directly with the Port Police.

For most people the only way to pay will be to travel to Greece to either pay or put their Vessel Out of Use. The Greek Government has suggested that owners should appoint an agent in Greece to Register and either pay or put their vessel Out of Use until the owner returns.

We have pointed out that it is totally unreasonable to bounce such a change on us, at a time when few even know about the tax and ever fewer will be able to go to Greece in time to avoid heavy fines.

The Law lays down the fines for non payment at 10 times the monthly rate for the tax. This would be around 1200 for a 13 meter vessel.

The Cruising Association has made a request for support from the British Embassy in Athens. We need as many requests to embassies as possible to delay or even get the tax stopped. We would urge you to get in touch with your national Embassies as soon as possible to ask them what help they can give.

This treatment of Tourists to Greece by the Greek Government is nothing short of disgraceful.

More info:

This article has been provided by the courtesy of noonsite.com.

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