Greek Legal-Tax matters

related to vacation rentals

The general line is that there is no limit on overnight stays. The current tax is the same as for urban monthly property rental Law 4446 of 2016, which refers to short-term leases, is separate from Law 4179 of 2013, which specifically relates to mansions and is in force at the same time. It determines the definition of the mansion, sets the maximum booking allowance limit in nights (3 months, although it is informal, you will not be checked for this), and there is an obligation to issue a special operation permit; the law specifically states what is needed for issuing the permit. In short, if you have a mansion, you need an EOT permit (EOT = The Greek Board of Tourism), and the maximum of nights without the obligation to starting a Business is 92 nights-if you are very formal and stick to the letter of the law. However, the tax office will not be of interest if you brought more nights, but if you declared them, and if you have an operation permit from the Greek Board of Tourism. You will register on the relevant Greek Tax Platform (known as ‘AADE’) no matter whether you are starting a Business or stay and rent as a private person. What changes when registering to the AADE platform is that if you are renting as a private person, the platform automatically issues a registration number for you, known as ‘A.M.A’-you need to show this everywhere (on rental platform listings, etc.). If you rent as a business, you use the Greek Board of Tourism license’s license number and enter this in the AADE Tax platform (EOT). If you want more details, there is the amazing article by Mr. Batakis, Accountant-Tax Officer, which explains in simple words the rental of the house through Airbnb type platforms, which we quote.

"Airbnb Home Rent"

Introduction

Prior to the implementation of Article 111 of Law 4446/2016, which first set out the terms and conditions for short-term leases of property through digital sharing platforms (Airbnb or others), it was voted by the Greek Parliament in May 2017 Law 4472/20107, which makes significant changes to this article.   

The most important concerns the determination – in addition to a joint ministerial decision of the Ministers of Economy and Development, Finance and Tourism – of the geographical areas where the restrictions in force and concerning the lease limit of 90 or 60 days (for islands up to 10,000 inhabitants) will apply. Short-term leases of up to 2 properties per VAT number and the income limit of 12,000€ even if we have exceeded the lease’s 90 or 60 days during the relevant tax year. Until the issuance of the above joint ministerial decision, none of the above restrictions exist.

Also, the concept of real estate manager is defined. It is now possible to list the property on digital platforms for the purpose of a short-term lease, not only private but also for any other legal entities.

Finally, the conditions that were valid for the inclusion in the Register of Short-Term Residence and had to do with the minimum area (9 sq.m.) of the property as well as the obligation of legality of the building (s.s. Attention: the elimination of the latter condition on the legality of the building may no longer create an obstacle to registration, but it should be of concern to property managers because tenants can raise legal claims in the event of possible damage during their stay).

Important Definitions

  1. Short-term lease is defined as the lease of real estate concluded through digital platforms for a specific period of time, specifically less than a year.

 

  1. A short-term rental property manager is a natural or legal person or any legal entity that undertakes the process of listing real estate on digital platforms for the purpose of short-term lease and generally takes care of the short-term lease of the property. A property manager may be either the owner of the property or a prefect or a usufructuary or a lessor or a third party.

Conditions

  1. The property manager has been registered in the “Register of Short-Term Residence Properties” kept by the Independent Public Revenue Authority (AADE).
  2. The registration number in the Short-Term Residence Property Register must accompany the listing of the property, in a visible place, on the digital platforms, as well as in each media. 

The registration in the Register of Short-Term Residence Properties is made per leased property.

By joint decision of the Ministers of Economy and Development, Finance and Tourism, for reasons related to the protection of housing, geographical areas may be determined, where restrictions on the disposal of real estate for short-term lease will apply as follows:

  1. The short-term lease of more than two (2) properties per VAT number should not be allowed for each income beneficiary.

  2. The lease of each property should not exceed ninety (90) days per calendar year and for islands with less than ten thousand (10,000) inhabitants per sixty (60) days per calendar year. Exceeding the previous paragraph’s duration is allowed, provided that the landlord’s total income or sublease from all the properties available for rent or if the sublease does not exceed twelve thousand (12,000) euros during the relevant tax year.

Penalties and fines

  1. In case of non-compliance with the above conditions, an independent administrative fine of five thousand (5,000) euros is imposed on the real estate managers.

    The fine is public revenue, is imposed and collected in accordance with the provisions of KEDE from AADE.

    From the finding of the infringement, the manager of a short-term lease property is obliged to take the necessary compliance actions within fifteen (15) calendar days.

    In case of non-compliance with the above conditions, within one year from the issuance of the act of imposition of the fine, this fine is imposed at double and in the case of each same subsequent violation, at four times the amount initially imposed.

    In case of non-submission or submission of an inaccurate Short-Term Declaration, the property manager shall be fined twice the rent as shown on the digital platform on the day of the audit.

    In the case of an overdue Declaration of Short-Term Residence, an independent administrative fine of one hundred (100) euros is imposed.

    In case of non-response of the digital platform to the request of AADE, regarding the provision of any information necessary for identifying the property managers and the properties that are posted on them, fines of 250 or 500 euros are imposed. Depending on whether there is an obligation to comply with simplified or complete accounting standards.

For the application of the provisions concerning the short-term lease, checks may be carried out by mixed control teams consisting of employees of A.A.D.E. and the Ministry of Tourism. In addition, the assistance of the Financial Police may be requested.

Liabilities per case

  1. The property owner or the perfect or the usufructuary or the lessor, if he entrusts the management of his property to a third party for a short-term lease, has an obligation to submit a Real Estate Lease Information Statement to which he will enter his details.
    In case of non-submission, the same property manager is considered.
  1. In the case of co-ownership of a property, when the manager of the property is one of the co-owners, the other co-owners are not obliged to submit a Statement of Real Estate Lease Information.
  2. The owner of the property or the nominee or the usufructuary or the lessor, if he rents a property with the right of sublease, still has an obligation to submit the Statement of Real Estate Lease Information.
  3. In cases where the real estate managers have a Special Operating Signal (EOT), they are not obliged to register in the Register of Short-Term Residence Properties. Still, they are obliged to indicate, in a visible place, the number of the Special Operating Signal (EOT license number) when posting the property on digital platforms, as well as in any media.
  4. The property manager who does not have a Special Operation Signal (EOT) is obliged to submit a Declaration of Short-Term Residence in an electronic application that will be created by AADE and does not submit Statements of Real Estate Lease Information.
  5. The owners of real estate, who bear the characteristics and specifications of the tourist furnished villas, and who may rent it outright and not in parts, to natural persons for some time, without the right to further pretend, are also subject to the same obligation to submit a Short-Term Declaration. One week and not more than three (3) months in total per year, prohibited from its successive lease beyond the quarter of the same year.

Income tax

  1. Income earned by natural persons from the short-term lease of real estate of the sharing economy is considered income from real estate, provided that the property is rented furnished without the provision of any service other than the provision of bed linen. In case any other services are provided, this income is income from business activity.
  2. The income obtained from legal entities or legal entities from the short-term lease of real estate of the sharing economy, as defined in the previous paragraph, is considered income from real estate.

    The above applies to the income obtained from the tax year starting from 1.1.2017 onwards.

VAT

The income obtained from the short-term lease of real estate of the sharing economy is exempt from VAT.

Possibility of voluntary disclosure of taxable material of previous years

According to Articles 57-61 of Law 4446/2016, which concerns the “Voluntary Disclosure of Taxpayers’ Materials of the Past Years,” it is possible to declare the income derived from short-term leases (from Airbnb-type platforms of years, etc., reduced). Additional taxes and other charges, with an initial or amending statement of income tax on a case-by-case basis, in the year of acquiring the right to collect this income. It is also possible to submit with the same provisions, declarations of real estate lease information either by lease or collectively annually regardless of the existence or not of the employee-employees’ VAT number. Detailed instructions are provided in Law 1009/19.1.2017.

Entry into force

The entry into force and operation of the Short-Term Residence Register and any other necessary details of implementation will be determined by a decision of the Commander of AADE.