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Greece’s Short-term Rentals Bill Raises Professional Concerns

The Greek Confederation of Tourist Accommodation Enterprises (SETKE) and the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) have expressed their concerns over an adjusted bill set to regulate an ever-growing shadow economy, which was tabled in parliament on December 12, and was eagerly awaited by tourism professionals.

Both trade bodies are calling on the government to make further changes and withdraw several amendments.

In a statement, SETKE said the bill to regulate the sharing economy “not only fails to take a first step in the right direction but instead paves the way for tax evasion… while threatening the sustainability of thousands of small or very small businesses and room rental operations operating legally”’.

According to SETKE the bill “fails to provide for the obvious: the introduction of a special license for these operations and corresponding taxation equivalent to those applicable to room rental businesses”.

In the meantime, the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels welcomes the amendments as “a first step” but is quick to point out that certain points including revenue exceptions “perpetuate instead to tackling unfair competition especially for those thousands of very small accommodation facilities operating legally and declaring income less than 12,000 euros, already bearing the brunt of excessive taxation”.

At the same time, the HCH in a letter to Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos is also calling for increased fines in case of violations: “5,000 euros is considered extremely low and not in line with national legislation and international practice. Furthermore, a 5,000-euro fine on villas rented out for 1,000 to 3,500 euros a day will not be a strong deterrent”.

The HCH is proposing a fine of at least 50,000 euros depending on the violation, recommending the imposition of VAT as well as of a special tax on night stays, and is requesting a legislative framework that clearly distinguishes between occasional leasing and professional rentals.

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