Tourism pro­fes­sion­als want com­pet­i­tive VAT

Kathimerini English - - Focus - STATHIS KOUSOUNIS

Tourism pro­fes­sion­als are ask­ing the gov­ern­ment to bring value-added tax on tourism busi­nesses back down to com­pet­i­tive lev­els of be­tween 8 and 10 per­cent from 2017, speak­ing of an over­taxed sec­tor that will not be sus­tain­able af­ter 2016 if VAT rates re­main at the cur­rent level.

Ad­dress­ing the an­nual con­fer­ence of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Hel­lenic Tourism En­ter­prises (SETE), pres­i­dent An­dreas An­dreadis re­ferred to the nu­mer­ous tax hikes af­fect­ing tourism, such as the VAT in­creases to 13 per­cent on ac­com­mo­da­tion and to 23 per­cent for food ser­vice and the phas­ing out of the 30 per­cent dis­count on VAT rates on the Aegean is­lands, as well as the grow­ing costs of trans­porta­tion, ris­ing ad­mis­sion fees at mu­se­ums and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites, and higher prices for a range of con­sumer goods.

The SETE head pro­posed that the fis­cal gap cre­ated by mak­ing VAT rates the same as those at ri­val des­ti­na­tions could be cov­ered by the in­tro­duc­tion of a tax on peer-to-peer prop­erty rentals, the im­proved col­lec­tion of VAT, the im­po­si­tion of fines on il­le­gal ac­com­mo­da­tion, and the manda­tory use of credit or debit cards. In this con­text, he es­ti­mated the num­ber of peo­ple who rent out prop­erty for tourism ac­com­mo­da­tion with­out pay­ing any taxes at some 100,000.

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