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Greece - a tax haven, but only for ship owners

16 June 2014 / 18:06:23  GRReporter
2726 reads

"Wealth and evasion" is the title of an article in the new issue of the German magazine Der Spiegel devoted to the tax concessions that apply to Greek ship owners, reads the Greek edition of Deutsche Welle.

According to the article, they order new ships at a pace that does not show the existence of a crisis in shipping. In particular, in 2012 they ordered the construction of 275 new ships totalling 10 billion euro and the same number of second-hand ships to renew their fleets.

In the first half of 2014, the value of orders for new ships and the purchase of second-hand ships amounted to 5 billion euro. "This money comes out of our pockets," chairman of the Association of Greek Ship Owners Theodoros Veniamis told the edition.

The article states that one of the main reasons for the high liquidity of Greek ship owners in the midst of the economic crisis is the fact that they pay minimum taxes for a large-scale business activity. Spiegel refers to data from international studies that suggest that from 2002 to today, Greek ship owners have not paid taxes  to an amount of at least 140 billion euro. In addition, thanks to 58 special legal decrees, the Greek families in this business that number about 800 do not pay any taxes at all. The edition stresses that nowhere else in the world are ship owners so protected from tax burdens as in Greece.

In response to this remark, Veniamis stated that ship owners pay taxes "as citizens, like everyone else." However, the article adds that, according to the Greek trade unions data, in 2012 ship owners paid, as private individuals, taxes to the amount of 15 million euro. At the same time, the Greek sailors who work on their ships paid 55 million euro in taxes.

After the pressures exerted on them ship owners promised to pay a double tax on tonnage over the next three years and called this "voluntary contributions." But, as the German edition writes, while the government in Athens expects double the amount of 140 million euro, ship owners state that it does not exceed 100 million euro.

Tags: EconomyCompaniesShippingShipping tycoonsTaxes
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