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Tonnage tax revisited: the case of Greece during a shipping crisis and an economic crisis period

Stylianos Panagiotou () and Helen Thanopoulou Thanopoulou
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Helen Thanopoulou Thanopoulou: University of Aegean

No 266, Working Papers from Bank of Greece

Abstract: 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 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H25 E63 R40 O57 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 26
Date: 2019-07
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