Tourism Director Defends Tax Hike

Travel 2023
Tourism Director Defends Tax Hike
Tourism Director Defends Tax Hike

Video: Tourism Director Defends Tax Hike

Video: Tourism Director Defends Tax Hike
Video: Biden defends tax increases on corporations and wealthy to fund education plans 2023, March

Since the massive increase in the residence fee of up to 700 percent per year for yacht owners was decided and announced, the industry has been stormy - and the responsible tourism ministry has remained silent. No question was answered, only in some Croatian media the Minister Gari Capelli made a few statements confirming that the tax was coming and would not be reduced any more. Owners of a twelve-meter yacht have to reckon with 1200 euros per year.

Now, in view of the massive criticism from the Croatian marina association and water sports associations from all over Europe, it was necessary to answer some questions at least at the trade fair in Düsseldorf. In the conversation that the cruiser department and representatives of Croatian marinas had organized and to which the YACHT was invited, it was not the minister himself who came, but the director of the Croatian Tourist Center Kristijan Stanicic.

He confirmed that the tax had been in effect since January 1, but then surprised with the announcement that there would be another change in the law in 2019. The way there is complicated, d for the new regulation three laws would have to be changed, which would affect several ministries. So the current version is only a kind of interim solution.

During the conversation it turned out that very many details of the concrete implementation of the currently valid regulation have not yet been clarified. When asked whether the evidence that had already been issued for the levy, which the owner had quickly obtained before the new regulation, was still valid, the answer was initially: "No". When asked whether he was serious, that some of them were still issued and cashed in December and that there were official papers of the Croatian authorities that were valid until 2019, Stancic then corrected himself. All certificates issued in 2017 are valid.

Furthermore, Stancic clearly represented the line of the Minister Gari Capelli. As a justification for the massive increase, he said publicly that many owners were only slightly affected because they only sailed a few weeks in Croatia and that the bottom line was that the tax would not be so expensive due to the possibility of paying the fee for a limited period of time. He confirmed that the owner had evidence of fees for 8, 15, 30 or 90 days or could buy them all year round from the port authorities. It is important to note that if you buy one of the limited-time tickets and do not fully use it, you can have confirmation on site that you have left earlier and that these days will then use up later!

However, there was initially confusion in the question of how and where skippers had to obtain this proof in writing. Kristijan Stancic emphasized that this is possible either at the official port authorities or at the marina receptions. When asked, some marina operators and the director of the ACI stated that they were unaware of such a regulation. At least the ACI (which is largely owned by the state) said that a corresponding instruction would be implemented if it came. The private marina operators are likely to be less enthusiastic about being saddled with this bureaucratic task and perhaps incurring the ire of customers who might then think that the fee came from them.

It was also unclear whether there would be a corresponding form for this evidence and, if so, what it would look like. Obviously, no one in the ministry has given any thought to that.

Stancic rejected the criticism from the cruiser department and YACHT that the fee was only paid by foreigners, whereas it was largely not customary for Croatian owners to collect this fee: The fee has always been applicable to Croatian owners and will be collected in the future.

The Croatian also rejected the argument that the higher fee would put yacht owners at a massive disadvantage in contrast to those on vacation or holiday homes: The new regulation is now identical to that of rural tourism. He no longer commented that this was obviously not the case.

When asked whether the tourist office was concerned that owners might leave the Croatian marinas and move to Italy, as happened a thousand times before a few years ago when Italy tried to introduce a boat tax, the Croat said no. In Italy it was a flat boat tax, while in Croatia it was an attendance fee, which was reasonable. The criticism that the fee hits owner couples particularly hard who are already retired and usually use their boat extensively on their own did not impress Stancic either.

The bottom line was that the impression remained that the new law was being implemented on the spot without good preparation and that the officials responsible have not yet regulated the implementation in detail. And that about two months before the start of the sailing season.

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