Written by Stephanos Telioridis, Co-founder & Representative of the Greek Tourism Platform ibnb.gr
Intense mobility has been observed lately by the state mechanism to control the rapidly growing tourist short-term lease. A few days ago, we saw in the tax bill the provision for the imposition of "lighter fines" and electronic tax crossings of previous years. These are actions aimed at creating the common belief that something is changing in space. Apparently, the implementation of tax - and not only - legislation is being sought.
However, industry professionals, both homeowners, hoteliers and renters, have not yet been convinced that these actions are going in the right direction and will satisfy the public a sense of justice. It is more likely that they will lead to an intensification of the already intense competition, which often touches the boundaries of unfairness.
We have recently read that legislation is to be adopted the ability of the Tax Administration to request, within a timely manner, by document or electronic request, any digital platform manager operating in the sharing economy, whether or not it has a permanent establishment in Greece or any information or information regarding persons who use the platform as sellers, for which tax liabilities arise or may arise domestically.
But this possibility does not already exist?
And I explain:
It should be noted that legislation has long provided for the obligation of third parties to provide information to tax authorities when requested.
However, the new provisions enhance the role of 'intermediate third parties' by giving them purely supervisory powers. Responsibilities belonging to the State mechanism.
The Tax Procedure Code and other specific legislation attempt to systematize how third parties - in this case, short-term leasing platforms - collect information within a short period of time. They also provide for the possibility of removing all forms of professional secrecy.
These are certainly important innovations in the area of tax reform. But at the same time they will be a hindrance to the uninterrupted pursuit of the business of short-term tourism professionals.
The counter proposal
It is my personal opinion that, alternatively, it would have to be legislated, within a more specific context, the obligation of each platform to define itself as mandatory the fields of Property Register Number, MTEE and Special Function Signal. Also disable existing entries that have not filled in the fields in question. And of course it prohibits the creation of new registrations without these fields.
Likewise, in the case of false, falsified or false statements, a number of criminal offenses are committed. These can be identified by technical means with the assistance of the Electronic Crime Prosecution.
Thus, we come to the intriguing question of whether it is worthwhile, at the altar of tax transparency, to embrace all platforms, always cooperating with the State mechanism and the public audit services responsible, where the burden of exercising these specific audit responsibilities, whatever this will imply for their proper functioning. Especially considering Airbnb's recent decision in France.
Will the revenue that the state expects from the practices in question eventually be lost as a result of the decline in platform turnover?
I leave the answer to you and it may not be so easy.