Bad news for Greek property owners intent on squelching on Airbnb revenue taxes. Authorities are proceeding with pre-announced cross-inspections in efforts to ferret out tax-evading property owners leasing out their accommodations. In the latest news Greek tax men will use “search robots” deployed by the revenue authority. The move may put an end to the Airbnb bonanza that has supported thousands through tough times in Greece.
These robots operate like web crawlers to access web pages to connect owners with extra revenue streams. Greece’s Independent Authority for Public Revenue (AADE) has decided to follow the model using search robots (bots) implemented in Portugal to track down taxpayers who have failed to join the AADE’s e-registry and list their property as well as resultant income.
News that Athens now has over 5,127 listings of properties for short-term rental in a single online platform, and that the average of 52 euro per day with occupancy rates at about 73 percent has tax hounds drooling apparently.
Now the Greek tax authorities say they will be able to detect operators who haven’t listed their properties on the country’s short-term rental registry or those who have but have not declared income. The revenue hunters will be backed up with steep fines up to €5,000 euro when they find owners who are not complying.
The AADE has threatened for some time to deploy means for corraling “digital platforms operating in the sharing economy (Airbnb, Booking.com, and HomeAway) with a view to concluding cooperation protocols and welcoming cooperation initiatives, and with other sharing economy platforms”.
The hosts I know are mostly struggling to get by in an economic atmosphere that puts many of them close to bankruptcy and foreclosure. Here on Crete the market has been driven down price wise to the point where more tax expenditures will prove fatal to some entrepreneurs. The laws allow for a 15% tax rate on small-time operators who bring in less than 12,000 euros, but more ambitious hosts who make up to 35,000 euros are hit for 35 percent of their revenue. And if a Greek property owner makes in excess of 35,000 euros, 45 percent goes to the state.
It seems like no one in Athens has considered the root cause of tax evasion in this instance. Or, perhaps the big hospitality companies have lobbied sufficiently to get the government to put their competition out of business. 45% of everything over 35,000 euro takes my incentive to move on buying rental properties away right now. Maybe a fair tax should be considered?