Operate a charter yacht in Greece
In order to perform chartering activities in Greece, a yacht should comply with the Greek charter license provisions.
Yachts not registered under the Greek charter license provisions are not allowed to embark or disembark passengers within Greece and neither to advertise a charter activity from Greek ports.
Below is a 15 point guide for easy reference,
- The yacht must have a minimum manning to cover the provisions of the Greek legislation for similar Type and Gross Tonnage yachts under the Greek flag.
- Such crew must have been insured (social security) either in Greece, for Greek seamen, or in another EU country (flag state or country of residency) and have being issued the EU document A1 for social security.
- The yacht Owner / Company must register a branch office in Greece for the charters made while in Greece.
- The yacht must pass an inspection and be provided with a certificate to show compliance with the requirements for a similar Greek flagged commercial yacht. This shall not be any major problem for yachts under a Red Ensign commercial registration apart of maybe some fire/safety equipment certification.
- The yacht must issue a charter party including the draft provisions of the Greek charter party as required by the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG). Draft sample available on request.
- The yacht shall be issued with a document called EEPSEPA, like a charter log, where all charters and other movements e.g. private use, sailing without guests, etc. must be recorded.
- The EEPSEPA and the the charter party together with the pax/crew list are presented at the starting port authority and stamped for departure. No other paperwork is required in subsequent port authorities in next ports except if there is any yacht failure, accident, crew change, etc. If any guest departs before the charter end, there must be an addendum to the charter party and a new pax list issued and be available for inspection i.e. the crew/pax list must be always updated with the actual people onboard. If the principal charterer departs the yacht without an intention to return the charter is considered as terminated.
- To maintain the Greek charter license the yacht must prove that has completed a minimum number of days on charter per year, depending on their category and age, either in Greece or abroad. If the yacht is doing chartering abroad the charter parties must be stamped in the first Greek port authority upon the yacht’s entry in Greece or, if the yacht is not returning to Greece, at a Greek consulate office.
- Besides the requirement for the minimum charter days as above, the Owners may use the yacht privately but with not any benefits and exemptions on taxes and VAT on fuel or other supplies & services used during his private use.
- Failure to maintain the Greek charter license may give raise to the Greek Tax Authorities to claim VAT on the yacht plus any fuel and supplies obtained tax free for the duration since the issuance of the Greek charter license.
- Such claim is also transferred to the new Owner if the yacht is sold in between without clearing the Greek charter license.
- The invoicing on supplies and fuel is VAT free though the yacht must prove that at least 60% of the charters were performed in the open sea (i.e. as per the new directive 1240/31-12-2018 the 6-mile zone from the departure port’s coastline). As per the new provisions the yachts must cruise 60% of their time in the open sea which is now the seas 6-mile off the coast of the mainland or the island, whether the departure port is in the mainland or in an island respectively. If not, cannot claim on VAT exemptions but can counter balance it in the accounting books with the VAT received from charters.
- The yacht must have an AIS installed to prove the trips in the open sea as above. If not, will need to follow an e-database to register all trips while in Greece (reverting with more details by May 2019 when it is supposed to be functional).
- There is zero taxation on profits for the charters in Greece on EU flagged yachts.
- The VAT in Greece is currently 24%. For the VAT on charters discounts of 60% and 50% may apply depending on the nature of the trip and the yacht’s registration.