TONNAGE TAX REVISITED: THE CASE OF GREECE DURING A SHIPPING CRISIS
AND AN ECONOMIC CRISIS PERIOD
Bank of Greece and University of Aegean
University of Aegean
The research investigates the relative position of the Greek tonnage tax system internationally. The authors point that despite the regulatory framework remaining unchanged - since Greece was the first traditional maritime country to introduce this regime in the 1970s - total taxes paid by Greek shipping companies increased by almost tenfold since the start of the Greek economic crisis. Next, they investigate the sources and mechanisms for this rise pointing a. at the impact of voluntary commitments undertaken by the Greek ship-owning community in the period of the economic adjustment programs and b. at the extension of the tax base. Next, they analyze the comparative tax burden on specified vessel types under the Greek, EU and non-EU tonnage tax regimes. The analysis reaffirms that, while shipping tax regimes have converged internationally, there are still differences in the tonnage tax bill according to alternative principles. The paper concludes that while the Greek system is considered traditionally as favorable for companies, it has become less so in terms of international comparisons in recent years, favoring, however, state revenues through the shipping crisis since 2008. The authors suggest that tax incentives to ship-owning companies can vary according to whether maritime clusters, fleet competitiveness, short-term tax receipts or long-term tax receipts are selected as optimization target and point to areas of further research.
Keywords: Tonnage tax, ship taxation, Greek shipping, shipping fiscal impact.
JEL Classification: H25, E63, R40, O57
Acknowledgements: We wish to thank participants at the 27th Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists (Athens, 25-28 June 2019) for helpful questions and insights. The paper does not provide any tax, legal, accounting, commercial or professional advice and has been prepared for academic research purposes only. The views expressed are entirely those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.
Economic Analysis and Research Department
Bank of Greece
21 El. Venizelos Avenue
10250 Athens, Greece