Greek Shipowners Will Pay Taxes

shipping1Greek shipowners, whose industry had remained untaxed despite the country’s crushing economic crisis, have reportedly agreed to stay paying on their vessels registered abroad and flying foreign flag, although their other fiscal advantages will remain unchanged, a source from the Merchant Marine Ministry told Agence-France-Presse.

An agreement between the government and the shipowners that will be part of the new tax bill the Greek Parliament was expected to approve later will alter a fiscal system virtually unchanged since 1955 said the source.

According to the new provision, the tonnage tax currently in force for the Greek merchant fleet will now apply to “foreign shipowners or companies for ships sailing under foreign flags that are managed by companies based in Greece.” The same source said that a large part of the Greek fleet sailing under foreign flags falls under this category.

Authorities are hoping that the new provision will not result in companies fleeing the country, as the tax imposed on the new contributors will be relatively small. Greek shipowners have steadfastly refused to pay taxes and warned they would relocate to other countries if forced to do so. Greek shipping is the world’s largest, controlling some 18 percent of all vessels.

The ministry was not able to give an estimate of how much the tax would bring in or other details about the industry, which has remained largely hidden from government scrutiny. Sources, however, told AFP that the new tax could bring in about 100 million euros, or about $133.4 million annually, a miniscule amount compared to the $70 billion owed by tax chaets.

Greek shipowners are leaders in their sector internationally, but only nearly a third of their fleet sails under the Greek flag as they use flags of convenience of other countries to avoid paying taxes in their homeland.

With Greece heading into a sixth year of a deep recession, resentment has grown against the Greek captains of industry who have tried to do all they could to avoid paying taxes while Greek workers, pensioners and the poor have been hit with waves of pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed benefits. Greek shipowners are also exempt from paying tax on profits generated by their Greek-flagged vessels, paying only the tonnage tax.


  1. “Greek workers, pensioners and the poor have been hit with waves of pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed benefits.”

    … to pay for all the services they consume. Who else is supposed to pay? Is Andy Dablis offering to foot the bill? How about communist Tsipiras?

    If our shipping industry had been left to the hands of our parasitic Incompetent leftists (wildly cheering taxation against our only still strong industry)..  we would have no shipping industry. It would have been taxed to the point it would be relocated elsewhere with low or no corporate taxes. (Kissing all the jobs created by it good-bye to fund our leftist parasites)

    I feel the greatest shame as a Greek when I listen to our parasitic leftist weasals constantly trying to find new ways to shamelessly sponge off others. Disgusting.

  2. I don’t have a problem with taxing Greek shipping. They too consume services from the Greek state.
    BTW. SYRIZA didn’t bring this tax in, the ND coalition did. And about time.

  3. If we listened to our lefitst parasites our shipping industry would be taxed to extinction. These leftist thieves can only think about new ways to fund themselves through government.  When it comes time to paying taxes themselves… for services they themselves consume… they whine about high taxes. Irrational idiots.

  4. If we tax it we will only end up slowly losing our shipping industry. (which is especially vulnerable as it takes next to no effort to move ships to another home port) In so doing we will also eventually lose jobs as well as indirect taxes like VAT. Businesses are in the business of making money not funding leftist welfare queens that think they are entitled to someone’s else’s money.

    I know Samaras history. He didn’t want this tax but he’s trying to win back lost trust of EU that are telling him to raise taxes.  Raising taxes is a mistake of the EU though. It punishes the honest people to try and make up the shortfall of cheats. Its only going to make our economy even less competitive than it already is. If there are shortfalls we should be cutting services even further though more government jobs cuts not raising taxes.

  5. Here’s a better way to tax the shipowners – for use of their offshore company assets like airplanes, yachts, cars, apartments, etc.  It is ludicrous that they pay themselves Euro 1.000 per month yet can live in such luxury.  Forget taxing the ships.  Those freeloaders will surely pack up and leave the country for the noteworthy tax havens.  Simply tell them that the use of each asset will have an assumed income attachment.  The rest of us are taxed this way although we had to prove that we could afford to purchase the asset in the specific tax year in which the asset was acquired.  Furthermore, regardless of our current income, retaining the asset results in an assumed income.  Apply the tax equally and the government coffers will rise a helluva lot more than Euro 100 million.  

  6. Do you even know what a freeloader means?

    Someone that works in the shipping industry (or any industry) that
    contributes jobs and VAT taxes… is not a freeloader. A freeloader would be some unemployed poor person in Greece….that consumes services and does not pay any taxes. They are living off the backs of someone else.

  7. Your recommendation would destroy our shipping industry (taking many jobs with it). They would set sail for another port not run by greedy lazy far leftist welfare queens intent of leeching off their hard earned wealth.

  8. Interesting opinion but many questions remain such as:

    – How long will it take for the shipowners to create the political infrastructure that enables them to live essentially tax free in another country?
    – Where in all of Europe does such a port exist today?
    – Who will run the various industry cartels controlled by the large shipowning families?
    – Who will elect/buy the MPs in parliament?

    FYI – The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a freeloader as follows: to impose upon another’s generosity or hospitality without sharing in the cost or responsibility involved.  So while there are many freeloading sponging off the system, my point is that the shipowners are without a doubt the largest ones.  If they really cared, they would support this country with more than rhetoric.

    Besides for the paltry 100 million in potential tax revenues, while not simply call their bluff.


  9. Are you greec?? the ugly,selfish,canibalistic greec politicians live in bed with wealthy shipowners..its the poor greecs that have to pay taxes and declare where they got the money to buy a today worthless home in 1978 or a now worthless car in 1999…the greec taxman, being unorganized,stupid and corrupt is also going to search the poor normal greecs for 18billion Euro, they think that middle-Pannos ahs stashed away under the bed????

  10. Most greec shipping already somewhere else..Pireaus is no center of world shipping but Rotterdam,Singapore,Jebel Ali,Shanghai,Hongkong..most greec giant ships never ever come into greec waters at all..the ply their trade between Shanghai & Los Angeles or Saudi Arabia-Hamburg…shipping is an inpersonal business operated by laywers,accountants and brokers..the greec state is blown away with its stupid bureacracy, it will collect “nada”,null,zero.