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Tax, Labor Squads Target Greek Tourism Businesses for Violations

Tax and labor officials have stepped up inspections at accommodation and F&B services across Greece, with a primary focus on popular tourist destinations to weed out violators.

According to national broadcaster ERT, one in two businesses inspected in the first three months of the year were found to be in violation of tax or labor laws. Of 4,800 ventures inspected, 2,409 or 50.2 percent were tax dodging with lost revenue reaching 21.8 million euros in that period, up by a massive 217 percent compared to the first three months in 2017 (Independent Authority for Public Revenue -AADE- data).

pixabayOn-the-spot inspections at beach umbrella/chair services, rooms to let, car rentals, cafes and recreational services are carried out daily with the AADE and tourism police adding extra staff. 

VAT violations are fined between 250 to 500 euros and may include 48-hour closure of the business if fewer than 10 receipts have been issued or there are no receipts issued for transactions over 500 euros.

Labor Law Violators

According to May data presented by Labor Minister Efi Achtsioglou, the state labor inspectorate (SEPE) carried out 982 probes of tourist enterprises, imposed 325 fines amounting to 1.14 million euros while 43 cases of labor law offenses are being examined.

“In order to address the increased number of violations observed at the beginning of each tourist season and to achieve business compliance, SEPE has focused on the tourism industry earlier than any other year,” the labor ministry said in statement, adding that it will increase inspections on Crete through to September 15, with the collaboration of tax squads and tourism police.

In relevant news, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) employees association has called on Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura via a letter to boost checks on illegal accommodation facilities citing concerns raised by Greek hoteliers over short-term home rental practices.

The association referred to a draft law covering thematic and special interest tourism based on the guidelines of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which was up for public consultation last month. 

The GNTO workers’ association is urging the minister to “protect healthy professionals from those who are now being given the go-ahead to operate without any form of supervision”.

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