Greek Taxman Zeroes in On AirBnb, Short-Term Rentals

(Photo by IconPress/Christos Doudoumis)

ATHENS – With short-term rentals driven by the popular site Airbnb seeing properties in Athens turning away from monthly rentals in favor of short more profitable stays by visitors, Greek tax inspectors are zeroing in to try to raise more revenues during an ongoing economic crisis.

That comes after Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, reportedly bowing to pressure from hoteliers, proposed slapping on taxes as high as 45 percent on Airbnb and short-term rentals to make them uncompetitive.

A new Finance Ministry online platform targeting the short-term rentals and property owners trying to hide income is due to begin, said the business newspaper Naftemporiki. It will require
owners leasing property in Greece on a short-term basis to register and report every transaction and stay that is made.

Speaking to a SYRIZA-friendly radio station, Deputy Economic Minister Katerina Papanatsiou said taxpayers must also submit an aggregated balance sheet of all previous listings and total revenue received previously so they can be taxed retroactively although it was unclear what period would come under reportable.

Revenue from the leasing of real estate in Greece is taxed from 15-45 percent depending on the overall income of the taxpayer declaring the income. If property-related revenues exceed 12,000 euros ($14,078) per year the owners will also have to pay a solidarity tax to help the country’s most vulnerable.

Failure to declare the properties will be accompanied by a fine reaching a maximum of 5,000 euros ($5808) if authorities detect “undeclared leasing,” it was reported late in 2017.

The public revenues authority requires that each property registered on its platform prominently feature its registration number on any digital platforms or social media where it is advertised.
At the same time SYRIZA is going after the property owners it has failed to go after tax cheats costing the country scores of billions of euros in losses.