In the context of the tax reform introduced by L. 4646/2019 to most areas of the Greek tax legislative framework, significant shipping taxation amendments have also entered into force as of January 1 2020.
Under the new shipping tax law provisions, the Greek tax legislator has also expanded the tonnage tax regime to bareboat chartering and ship leasing by amending Article 25 of L. 27/1975. This provides the legal framework for the establishment of offices and branches of foreign shipping companies in Greece through the introduction of two new articles (26B and 26C) to L. 27/1975.
In particular, for tax years as of January 1 2020, offices of foreign enterprises dealing with the representation of bareboat charterer or ship lessee companies, now explicitly fall within the scope of the tonnage tax regime. In addition, the rights and obligations arising from the exploitation of ships under the tonnage tax regime have been extended to bareboat charterer companies and ship lessees, as well as their ultimate shareholders, up to the level of the private individual shareholder.
As a result, starting January 1 2020, the payment of tonnage tax exhausts any further tax liability with respect to any tax, tax duty, contribution or withholding for foreign-sourced income arising from the ship’s exploitation, for the shipowner company, as well as the bareboat charterer company, the ship lessee company or the company owning the ship with a foreign flag (which is administered or exploited by a Greek L. 27/75 ship management company).
However, ship leasing companies are explicitly excluded from the application of tonnage tax regime.
In addition to the above-mentioned changes, the provisions of L. 791/1978, regarding the criterion of the statutory (and not of the real) seat, were also amended, so as to be applicable to bareboat charterers or ship lessees, as well. Therefore, the seat of bareboat charterers or ship lessees is defined by reference to their articles of association.
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