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Greece to tax and fine Airbnb-style vacation rentals, force landlords to register as business

Greece has apparently decided to follow the taxation model of the German city of Munich and will impose and cash tax from Airbnb-style rentals. The Finance and the Tourism Ministry are reportedly preparing a bill to tax peer-to-peer property rentals in unlicensed accommodation. Furthermore, fines will be impose to owners found to be renting out their property without a license and if they don’t fulfill certain criteria.

In clear world words:

if I rent my apartment for 3-5 or even 10 nights per year for 20 euro/night, total gross income 60 to 100 euro or even 200 euro, not only I will be taxed to save the country from the plague of missing bailout targets. (Average Airbnb prices in €12-€50 in Athens very much depending on location, no extra charge for utilities use).

I will also have to spend days, weeks and – knowing the Greek bureaucracy – probably also months to obtain a license that has very good chance to prove to be a total waste of time when I’ll find out that my potential customers do not like my apartment or the area it is located.

And to crack down any slight move to earn a little extra something, I will have to register the room or the apartment in the Short-Term Lease Property Register. And bear all the consequences of running a business in Greece like prepaid taxes and social security contributions, for a business that is not a business.

And of course, I won’t be able to provide other service than bedding. Not even a breakfast to my “guests” who will stay for 1 or 2 nights because apparently I will harm the local economy of bakers, cafeterias and groceries.

I suppose, if I rent just one room in my apartment, I will send my guests next morning to buy their breakfast, and possibly also lunch and dinner, while I will enjoy my coffee, cereals, Greek salad, moussaka, tzatziki and chicken souvlaki  on the balcony.

According to Kathimerini that saw the first draft of the legislative proposal that fines to be imposed on owners found to be renting out their property without a license from the Greek National Tourism Organization and without satisfying the following six conditions:

The landlord must be a taxpayer registered with the Short-Term Lease Property Register at the Finance Ministry’s General Secretariat for Public Revenue.

– A taxpayer cannot rent out more than four properties.

– The property leased must have a minimum area of 9 square meters and have natural light, windows and heating.

– Properties must have all the necessary building permits or be maintained in accordance with legislation on old buildings.

– Each property can only be leased for up to 90 days per year.

Properties must be rented fully furnished, without the supply of any services except for bedding.

Any short-term leases that do not fulfill all of the above requirements will only be considered legitimate if they concern tourism accommodation of any form bearing the GNTO sign.

The tax will be imposed on the short-term lease of the property per overnight stay as a percentage rate of its value. At the moment the two ministries are in consultations regarding the level of the percentage rate and any fine-tuning to the bill.

The tax will be withheld during the transaction (online or not) by taxpayers and online platforms and will be paid to the tax authorities every quarter no later than the 16th of April, July, October and January of every year, concerning the previous quarter.

The Greek Tourism Ministry estimates the tax evasion in the home sharing market to be worth up to 300 million euros on an annual basis. And I understand that it is the Tourism Ministry that has initiated this action.

“The property leased must have a minimum area of 9 square meters and have natural light, windows and heating.” I want the Greek Tourism Ministry to locate rooms-to-let businesses with rooms with heating!

I’m really curious how the Greek members of the Airbnb will react to this and much to my knowledge they do not have a lobby or something.

BTW: Just a couple of weeks ago, it was the city of Munich, Germany that decided to impose tax on the Airbnb rentals.

PS I would be very mean if I suggest which interest group has pushed for such an law, so I don’t. But what I see becoming a common practice here though, is that the moment a common citizen makes a 45-degree turn, he faces taxes and fines. While those  acrobats talented in 180- and 360-degree looping in form of business tax evasion continue to unfold their skills without problem.

But making an offer online is much easier to locate via the vacation-rental platforms than going door-to-door to shops, offices and other tax evaders.

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9 comments

  1. So where do you register your property? We asked our architect 3 months ago about where we can register and he came back saying he didn’t know as there was suppose to be a government website where you can register as a single room renter ie Airbnb as part as the latest EU bailout deal.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      Sorry, I don’t know either. The decision is still on draft level and it seems as they have not decided yet on the tax rate. so better wait?
      “a single room renter ie Airbnb as part as the latest EU bailout deal” ???? really?

  2. That is what was posted sometime back to encourage tourism, There was suppose to be a government website where you could simply register the fact that you were renting a single room and thats all you needed to do, but no one I know can find this site.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      must be one of the many Greek mysteries. I suppose if you call at Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) they must know.

  3. Frankly, the Greek draft legislation is a disgrace. It is about time that the greek state learned how to support business activities while taxing them fairly. This proposal repeats all the mistakes of the past and adds a few new ones.
    ~
    Nor does it make any sense to copy German cities where property is scarce and they need to discourage abuses. Greece is a country in economic decline, with people struggling to earn a living. AirBnB is one way to supplement a small income and aiding tourists in finding affordable accommodation: hotel prices remain far too high in Athens and Thessaloniki. This is just incompetence from the Tsipras government.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      abuse of those renting in Germany is immense. I remember I was member of the “protection org” and every time I was leaving an apartment I had to call them in and save me a couple of hundred DM

  4. As a visitor who comes to Crete every year, the airb&b trade seems to actually get visitors out to the villages, using local small scale services, rather than the way the ‘trapped’ users of organised packages are fed through sanitised (and financially screwed down) versions of ‘Greek Life’. I suspect the financial gain to the country of setting tourists free from the tour companies would be greater than any trivial tax gain from these controls, considering how many are likely to say ‘sod it, it’s not worth the hassle (in Greek!)’ and just give up.

    • We have kept our local villages alive with AirBnB there are no Cafes, Taverna etc for 4 km from our house but our guests travel into Castellos and enjoy real Greek live, we have been fully booked for 3 years now and the locals now supply every ingredient for the guests breakfast the local Taverna has a special AirBnB price. The locals take our guests on guided farm walks history walks flora walks, wine and Raki making putting well need euros into their empty pockets. Since we started with AirBnB there are now 12 other houses in the area who are letting high quality rooms at low prices to give an Exclusive Cretan Visit not an All Inclusive one. Our area is slowly becoming the area to visit because evryone is working together to bring Real Crete to the discerning tourist.