Greece Won't Waive Olympic Taxes

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The North American Broadcasters Association -- which represents various national and commercial broadcasters, including U.S. networks -- has called on Greece to refund taxes related to coverage of the Olympic Games by various Asia-Pacific broadcasters.

Host countries generally refund taxes on service and facilities used for Olympic coverage, says NABA, because the coverage is being exported and its promotional value to the country outweighs the lost tax revenue.

So far, according to NABA, Greece has agreed to refund only the taxes of companies with a registered corporate entity in the European Union. That means that NABA members, like NBC, won't have to pay the taxes, but a host of Asian broadcasters will.

Ironically, the wealthier countries who could better afford to pay the taxes won't have to, while some smaller, poorer, countries will, says NABA.

"Most of our members do not have offices in Europe," said the Secretary-General of the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), David Astley, in a statement Tuesday, "so they will have to pay this extra tax, which will not be incurred by the wealthier broadcasters."

The ABU represents over 100 national broadcasters, including in 25 Olympic countries, and with a viewership of 3.7 billion, which the last time we looked was well over half of the Earth's population. Astley says many Asian countries may have to cut back on their coverage if the tax is not waived.

Astley's opposite number at NABA, Michael McEwen, lent his support, saying: "The charges place an unfair burden on many of the world’s other broadcasters and may inhibit both the coverage and the quality of that coverage for national audiences. The host country has a responsibility to recognize this and level the playing field for all rights holders in the fine tradition of the Olympic Spirit."