As we reported in April, the 2018 Charter season has been difficult for Greece. Laws introduced in late 2017 effectively reduced the charter market to those guests who were happy to start and finish their charter outside of Greek waters.
Reports made it clear that the additional cruising time required to reach Greece impacted on the region’s popularity, however, toward the end of the 2018 season the mechanics to obtain a Greek charter licence were put in place.
That process varies depending on whether the vessel flies an EU or non-EU flag however in each case a Greek presence must be established both fiscally and physically by the Owner. A VAT number must also be obtained and a Greek representative and accountant must be appointed to take responsibility for the charters and activity of the owner in Greece.
We are not experiencing any real problems when helping commercially compliant charter vessels meet with Greek regulations, but a Greek Foreign Commercial Yacht Inspection Certificate (PEXEPA) must be obtained before charters can commence.
Operationally and in a similar manner to other EU countries, VAT will be charged on the charter fee. Depending on the proposed itinerary for the charter, the current rates could be as low as 9.6% although higher rates for domestic Greek charters will apply.
One important point to note is that a level of private use by the beneficial owner may be possible in Greek waters, thus saving VAT on the charter costs. It is imperative that no funds change hands and all fuel and supplies must be duty and VAT paid as penalties for abuse of the rules are severe. Careful thought must also be given to the impact ‘private’ use may have on EU status of the vessel itself and the broader operational structure.
Although the costs are relatively high and the application process can be quite time consuming, 2018 saw several owners looking to take advantage of a relatively untapped charter market and interest is already high for 2019. We urge anyone with intentions to charter in Greece next season to make pro-active arrangements now and avoid the potential for delayed charter bookings next Spring.