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Greece to tax property owners who rent to visitors

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Greece to tax property owners who rent to visitors

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The Greek government is moving to tax owners of properties who rent them out to visitors via sites like Airbnb.

A three to five percent fee will be charged for every booking under a law that is expected to be voted through by next month.

Deputy Finance Minister Trifon Alexiadis told Euronews they will track lettings: “We will ensure that properties are registered. Anyone posting on internet sites that they have property for rent will have to have registered it first. This is just part of the government action we’re taking to fight tax evasion, illegal trading and corruption.”

Airbnb alone reportedly has as many as 50,000 properties available in Greece with 8,000 just in Athens.

The country’s hotels complain they are suffering and some are being forced out of business.

George Tsakiris, President of the Hellenic Chamber of Hoteliers, said: “This is hurting the state, it hurts public revenue, it hurts jobs, it hurts competition, it creates an unfair business environment, it threatens the viability of Greek tourism businesses.”

According to research by the accountancy firm Grant Thornton private renting of apartments is costing Greek hotels as much as 544 million euros annually and the loss of 15,000 jobs.

In Athens, Business correspondent Symela Touchtidou reported: “Greece isn’t the only country trying to regulate private rental tourist accommodation. In Italy, hotel owners are calling for appropriate taxes so there can be fair competition. In Spain, the authorities have set up a special website where people can report apartments being rented without a licence and without tax being paid.”

Cash strapped governments are increasingly chasing companies like Airbnb that have been accused of severely impacting the housing market in popular tourist destination cities and pushing up rental prices for local residents.

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