Earlier in the year, Sarnia Yachts reported that the 2018 charter season had been difficult for Greece, due to the laws introduced in late 2017. This effectively limited the charter market to guests who were happy to start and finish their charter outside of Greek waters.
Towards the end of 2018, mechanics to obtain a Greek charter licence were put in place.
The application process for a Greek charter licence varies depending on whether the vessel flies an EU or non-EU flag. The following points are mandatory in every case:
The owner must establish a Greek presence both fiscally and physically,
A VAT number must be obtained,
A Greek representative and accountant must be appointed to take responsibility for the charters and activity of the owner in Greece.
When it comes to commercially-compliant charter vessels, Sarnia Yachts is not experiencing any real problems to meet these new Greek regulations. However, a Greek Foreign Commercial Yacht Inspection Certificate (PEXEPA) must be obtained before any charters can commence.
The Impact on VAT
In a similar manner to other EU countries and operationally, VAT will be charged on the charter fee. The rates will vary depending on the charter’s proposed itinerary, but, current rates could be as low as 9.6% although higher rates for domestic Greek charters will apply.
It is important to note that a level of private use by the beneficial owner may be possible in Greek waters, and so will save VAT on the charter costs. Careful thought must be given to the impact any ‘private’ use may have on the EU status of the vessel and its broader operational structure.
Under no circumstances can funds change hands, all fuel and supplies’ duty and VAT must be paid in advance as penalties for abuse of the rules are severe.
2018 saw several owners look to take advantage of a relatively untapped charter market despite the relatively high costs and time-consuming application process. Interest in the Greek charter market has not dwindled and is already high for 2019.
Sarnia Yachts urge anyone with intentions to charter in Greece next season to make pro-active arrangements now to avoid the potential delayed charter bookings next spring.
**Photo credit: Courtesy of Sarnia Yachts