School of Economics, Business Administration and Legal Studies, LLM in Transnational and European Commercial Law, Mediation, Arbitration and Energy Law
The shipping industry plays an important role in the national economy of almost all countries. OECD States are trying to reinforce their merchant fleet and attract the relevant land based activities under their jurisdiction by applying tax incentives. Through this paper, it will be shown that OECD States have to reconsider the tax incentives already applied for achieving a friendlier taxation policy. The first part of this work will be dedicated to the main principles that govern the taxation of international shipping, the OECD approach on shipping taxation and the expansion of open registries that offer to ship owners a series of tax advantages that traditional maritime nations fail to provide. On the second part of this work, a description of the different systems of shipping taxation will be made with main emphasis on the scheme of tonnage taxation which is also applied by the Greek State. In chapter 3 of this work, special emphasis will be given on the fiscal aid measures which are permitted by the 2004 Maritime Transport Guidelines and the Commissions’ responses to recent cases in which particular problems arise regarding the interpretation and scope of application of these Guidelines. Finally, special interest will be given on the evaluation of the Greek tonnage regime by the European Commission and its conformity with the maritime Guidelines (chapter 4). This special interest on the Greek scheme is explained by the leading role of Greek ship owners in the European shipping industry. In addition to this, current Greek financial crisis raised Commission’s concerns regarding the protection of the integrity of the euro area. The Commission supervises the actions of Greek authorities at all levels and especially those which contribute to the return of Greece to financial stability. A strong merchant fleet can ensure the return of Greece to financial stability and its economic growth.