Low VAT Rates for Five Aegean Islands Extended Six Months



The town of Mytilene on the island of Lesvos. File photo

People who live on the five Greek islands which have been the most heavily burdened in dealing with the influx of migration for the past three years will keep their special, reduced VAT rate.

The Greek government published a legislative act in the government’s Gazette on Monday which provides for an extension of the 30 percent discount on the islands’ VAT rates until June 30, 2019.

The islands of Chios, Kos, Leros, Lesvos and Samos will continue to enjoy a 30 percent discount on the taxes, which are currently at the levels of 24, 13 and 6.5 percent.

Greece has implemented a lower VAT rate on the country’s islands for decades compared to  mainland rates, but during the financial crisis and under the provisions of the austerity measures, most Greek islands saw their rates raised to the same levels as those on the mainland.

The Value Added Tax, or VAT, is a broadly-based consumption tax in the European Union which is assessed on the value added to goods and services. It applies more or less to all goods and services which are bought and sold for use or consumption in the European Union, with each member state controlling the percentage of the levy.

In the years following the financial crisis, Greece has been ranked among the nations with the highest VAT rates anywhere in the E.U.