Taxation in Greece

Taxation of Property

General

Real estate property in Greece is subject to several taxes. The most significant factor in the calculation of the tax amounts is the  'objective value', which is an arbitrarily set value determined according to a formula defined by the Internal Revenue Service (Tax Office), and which is regularly revised. This value does not coincide with book or market value.  Individuals or legal entities (Greek and non-Greek) buying real estate property in Greece or receiving income from properties located in Greece, are required to have a Greek Tax Registration Number (AFM)  and file an income tax return every year. In 2005 VAT was introduced to the real estate market, imposed on the construction of new buildings for which the building permit has been issued after January 1, 2006.

AFM

The AFM is the Greek Tax Registration Number which is mandatory for all transactions including buying or renting property, opening a bank account, and buying a car. To apply for an AFM you usually need only your passport, although some tax offices may ask for a birth certificate as well. You may simply go to the local tax office yourself or have anyone with your Power of Attorney walk in and apply for an AFM on your behalf.
Real estate transfer tax
Real estate property transfer tax is calculated as follows: 7% of the value up to 15.000 Euros and 9% for the amount over 15.000 Euros (of the 'objective value'). These rates increase respectively by 2% when the property is located in an area covered by a public fire brigade.

The real estate transfer tax is reduced to ¼ in the case of:

a) Distribution of real estate property parts among co-owners
b) Dissolution of partnerships and limited liability companies (Ltds)

 The real estate transfer tax is reduced to ½ in the case of:

  • Compulsory trade-off of neighboring properties
  • Merger of Societe Anonymes (SAs) or take-over of one by the other.
  • Take-over of real estate property by the state for public use and for the public benefit
  • Trade-off with real estate of equal value

There is no transfer tax imposed on the purchase of the first-ever principal residence for Greeks or EU-citizens who maintain their usual residence in Greece, and for Greeks living abroad who are working outside Greece for the last 6 years and still remain registered with a Greek Community Register.

Tax Exempt Amounts by Category:

a) Tax exemption for a single person: up to 75.000 Euros for a house or apartment and up to 35.000 Euro for a plot of land
b) Tax exemption for married persons, divorced or widowed parents, and non-married persons, to whom the children’s custody has been granted: up to 115.000 Euros for a house or apartment and 64.000 for a plot of land.
c) For the first 2 children: an additional 23.000 Euros per child for a house or apartment and 10.000 Euros per child for a plot of land
d) For each additional child:  additional 35.000 Euros per child for a house or apartment and 12.000 Euros per child for a plot of land

Once the real estate transfer tax is calculated as set forth above, a municipal tax (3% of the amount of the transfer tax) is also payable.
VAT – at the standard rate of 23% - is imposed on new buildings whose construction permit has been issued on or after January 1st 2006.

Annual real estate tax

An annual real estate tax is imposed on individuals and legal entities owning real estate property in Greece, calculated on the property’s 'objective value':
For legal entities
    The first 243.600 Euros of the 'objective value' of the property is tax exempt.
  The value of the property over 243.600 Euros is taxed at 0,7%
For individuals
    The first 243.600 Euros of the 'objective value' of the property is tax exempt.
    The value of the property over 243.600 Euros is taxed according to a scaled percentage ranging from 0,3% to 0,8%.

Tax scale

Tax Percentage

Tax amount

Total Property Value

Total Tax amount

243.600

0%

0

0

0

146.750

0,3%

440.25

390.350

440,25

146.750

0,4%

587

537.100

1.027

146.750

0,5%

733,75

683.850

1.761

293.500

0,6%

1.761

977.350

3.522

293.500

0,7%

1.761

1.270.850

5.576,50

Excess

0,8%

-

-

-

Legal entities:

0,7%

     

Excess

0,8%

-

-

-

 

 
For a married couple the tax exempt amount is double (487.200 Euros), for the first 2 children it is incremented by 61.650 Euros per child, and for each additional child it is further incremented by 73.400 Euros per child.

Some exemptions from the real estate tax are in effect for certain special cases:
Forest areas, agricultural and mining areas, real estate property used by industrial, trade or hotel and professional units for their operational needs, hotel businesses for 50% of the value of the land which they own and which is used for tourism purposes and on which they have constructed buildings that satisfy their operational needs.

Municipal real estate duty - Telos Akinitis Periousias (TAP)

Property is also subject to a municipal duty, currently calculated at 0.25‰ - 0.35‰ on the “objective value” of the property. This duty is included in the electricity bill payable every two months.

Exempted from municipal real estate duty are:

a) Buildings under construction, for a seven-year period following the issuance of the building permit, or until they are rented or in any other way used prior to the lapse of this seven-year grace period.

b) The sections of residential buildings open to common use.

c) Buildings designated historical monuments.

Capital gains tax on the sale of property

Properties purchased, donated etc. on or after the January 1st 2006, will be subject to the new capital gains tax in future transfers. The capital gains tax will have to be paid in full before the completion of any transfer transaction and will be calculated on the difference between the acquisition price and selling price. The applicable rate of capital gains tax is inversely proportionate to the duration of ownership of the property, resulting in higher short-term capital gains.

a)  20% if the property remained in the ownership of the seller for less than five years

b) 10% if the property remained in the ownership of the seller for more than five but less than 15 years

c) 5% if the property remained in the ownership of the seller for more than 15 but less than twenty 25 years

d) 0% if the property remained in the ownership of the seller for more than 25 years

Gains realized by companies upon the sale of real estate property are treated as part of the company's taxable income.

However, if shares of a company holding real estate are transferred, there are some tax issues to be dealt with:

a) When shares of a Greek SA not listed on the Athens or any other stock exchange are transferred, a 5% tax is imposed on the transfer price of these shares. For listed shares the tax is 0,15%. Further tax depends on who the shareholder is and his place of residence.

b) When “parts” of a Limited Liability Company (LTD or EPE) are transferred, a capital gains tax of 20% is imposed upon any realized capital gain. Further tax depends on who the partner is and his place of residence

Taxation of Rentals

Stamp duty

Rentals are subject to a 3.6% stamp duty tax.

Additional tax on income from real estate property
Income from leasing real estate property is subject to an additional tax which is calculated on the gross income, and may not exceed the annual income tax liability for the same period. Calculation rates are:

  • 3% for legal entities
  • 1,5% for individuals, raised to  3% for residences exceeding 300 m² in area

Other Taxation Issues

Tax value and revaluation of real estate property

The Objective Tax Value of property almost throughout Greece, is calculated using maps and price tables defined by the Ministry of Finance. These prices are subject to revision every two years and are, more often than not, lower than the market value.

All land and constructions must be revaluated for both accounting and tax purposes every 4 years, using the rates set forth by the Ministry of Finance. The most recent revaluation of this kind took place in 2006. This does not apply to companies maintaining IFRS as their statutory reporting system.

The tax return

E1 - Basic Declaration
The E1 is the basic Income Tax Return form which has to be filed every year by all those having income in Greece or owning property in Greece.
The deadline for filing the E1 is announced each year by the Ministry of Finance. Even if you have no in Greece but you own property in the country it is mandatory to file a "Zero Income" E1 return along with the E9 Declaration. There is a fine for filing after the deadline.
If you already have an AFM  and you have a decent understanding of the Greek language, you can complete both can understand Greek well enough, you can complete both the E1 Return and E9 Declaration online by visiting http://www.taxisnet.gr. The site is only in Greek and online filing applies only before the filing deadline. 
However, if you don’t have an AFM or cannot for any reason file online, you must either be in Greece physically or have someone apply for the AFM and file the E1 and E9 on your behalf. This third party will need a Limited Power of Attorney in order to act on your behalf. Such a document can easily be drawn at the Greek Consulate closest to you.

E9 - Real Estate Declaration
The E9 is a new schedule the Greek State requires to be filed -ever since 2005- along with the Income Tax Return, by all those who own real estate in Greece. Even those who live outside Greece, have never filed a Greek Income Tax Return (E1) before, or have no income from Greece, must file an E1 and E9 if they own property.
The E9 Schedule can be filed later but the E1 has to be filed by the announced deadline in order to avoid fines and penalties.

VAT in Greece

VAT registration is mandatory for all businesses in Greece. The standard rate of VAT is 23% and the reduced rates are 9%, 4,5%. A reduction of 30% to any of the three rates, may apply in certain circumstances and regions.

Income tax

Residents of Greece are taxed on their world-wide income earned during a calendar year, by a system of progressive tax rates. There are certain allowances and deductions available which are taken into account when calculating the taxable income. These depend on the family situation and a number of other factors which have to be considered as they can lower significantly the amount of tax you are liable to pay.

Employers make due income tax deductions from salaries and wages, so if you are employed, some of the income tax due has already been paid.  Any taxes withheld by employers are taken into account when calculating your tax liability based on you total annual income. If more tax has been withheld than you are actually liable for, the difference will be rebated to you.

The yearly income tax return should be sent to the local Tax Office (DOY) by the announced deadline date and you will be soon informed by mail as to the amount of tax you have to pay (or the amount returned to you).  Married couples must file a joint tax return in which the income, tax, charges, and other items are listed separately for each spouse.

In some cases a tax deposit of 55% of your total tax bill for the current year is also withheld.  This deposit does not apply when your income is derived from salaried employment and if you own your own home. It is also not withheld if the calculated amount does not exceed 30 Euros.

The tax due is payable in three equal installments. Should you decide to forgo the installment plan and pay the tax in full in one payment, you are eligible for a 2,5% reduction on your total tax bill, provided that you make this full payment by the date on which the first installment is due.  If you choose to file online, you are granted another 2,5% reduction on the total tax due – up to a maximum of 118 Euros, and regardless of the number of installments.

If you resident in Greece, for tax purpose you also have to report income earned in other EU Member States in your tax return. If this income has already been taxed in the other country, you will receive a credited for this amount of tax by the Greek Tax Office. However, if the amount of tax paid in the other country is higher than the tax assessed in Greece , the difference is not rebated.

Double Taxation

Greece has signed treaties for avoiding double taxation on income with all other EU Member States.

Under these agreements, the right of taxation is divided between the two Member States concerned (country of residence- country of origin), and both States cede tax advantages (country of origin = tax reduction or exemption, country of residence = tax incentives). The treaties also regulate double taxation by means of the calculation method described above; insofar as the tax paid in the other State (country of origin) is referred to in the treaties. Where this is not the case, the tax paid unduly in the country of origin (i.e. in spite of the provisions of the relevant agreement) is not credited against the corresponding Greek tax, and the person concerned must apply for reimbursement of the tax from the State which levied it.

Greek residents (individuals or legal entities) acquiring income from a State which is party to the treaties must present a certificate of tax residence to the tax authorities of that State so that the provisions of the treaties can be applied directly.

Most of the States which are party to the treaties have adopted a special form incorporating the certificate of tax residence, which those persons affected (living in Greece) must submit to the competent Directorate of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance (International Economic Relations Directorate), together with an application and a mandatory certificate from the competent Directorate. The certificate of tax residence will then be issued on the basis of these documents.

List of countries which signed the double taxation agreement with Greece

Albania

Armenia

Austria

Belgium

Bulgaria

China

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Denmark

Egypt

Finland

France

Georgia

Germany

Hungary

Iceland

India

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Korea

Kuwait

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Mexico

Moldova

Netherlands

Norway

Poland

Portugal

Romania

Slovakia

Slovenia

South Africa

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Turkey

UK

Ukraine

USA

Uzbekistan

Inheritance & donation tax

The taxes on Inheritance and Donation (parental donation tax) vary according to the degree of relationship as shown below -in Euros
 

Athens Office: 78 Marathon Street 16673 Panorama, Voula
Tel & Fax: (0030) 210 89 95 499, Mobile: (0030) 6944 344 683, (0030) 6977 090 163
Kefalonia Office: Mavrata Village 28082, Tel & Fax: (0030) 26710 81618, E-mail: divacasa@hol.gr