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Which Greek Islands will be Exempt from VAT Hike?

An amended bill foreseeing the suspension for 2017 of a planned value-added tax (VAT) increase on islands of the northern and eastern Aegean and the Dodecanese is set to be voted on in parliament on Wednesday.

The measure, which will maintain a 30 percent discount on VAT rates, will apply to the islands of Lesvos, Lemnos, Agios Efstratios, Chios, Psara, Oinousses, Samos, Ikaria, Kos, Kalymnos, Nisyros, Patmos, Leros, Symi, Astypalea, Chalki, Kastellorizo and Samothrace, many of which have been affected by the refugee flows.

These islands will not be required to revert to the nationwide rates of 6 percent, 13 percent and 24 percent currently applicable across mainland Greece and effective on the rest of the islands as of January 1. Instead rates will remain at 5 percent, 9 percent and 17 percent until December 31, 2017.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had announced earlier this month that the planned VAT hikes (that involved the last third group of Greek islands that were to lose the special VAT status) would be suspended for the islands of the northern and eastern Aegean.

In the meantime, 15 islands in the Cyclades and Sporades — Skopelos, Amorgos, Ios, Kythnos, Serifos, Sikinos, Anafi, Kimolos, Folegandros, Iraklia, Donousa, Shoinousa, Koufonisia and Delos –will in fact lose the special VAT status (30 percent reduced implementation of all VAT rates) as of January 1, 2017, and see increase applying to medications, hotels, books and magazines, basic food items, fuel as well as coffee.

Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Rhodes and Skiathos were the first islands to lose the special tax status in October 2015 and were followed by the islands of Syros, Thassos, Andros, Tinos, Karpathos, Milos, Skyros, Alonissos, Kea, Antiparos and Sifnos in June 2016.

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