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  • Service: Tax, International Executive Services
  • Type: Regulatory update, Survey report
  • Date: 2/26/2014

Income Tax 

Taxation of international executives
Tax returns and compliance
Tax rates
Residence rules
Termination of residence
Economic employer approach
Types of taxable compensation
Tax-exempt income
Expatriate concessions
Salary earned from working abroad
Taxation of investment income and capital gains
Additional capital gains tax (CGT) issues and exceptions
Tax reimbursement methods
Calculation of estimates/prepayments/withholding
Relief for foreign taxes
General tax credits
Sample tax calculation


All income tax information is summarized by KPMG Advisors AE the Greek member of KPMG International, based on the Greek income tax laws 4172/2013, 4174/2013 and 4223/2013.


Tax returns and compliance

When are tax returns due? That is, what is the tax return due date?


As of 1 January 2015 personal income tax returns must be filed up to 30 April of the year following the year of income. The tax year for individuals is the calendar year (ends on 31 December each year).


What is the tax year-end?


The tax year for income tax purposes is the calendar year (31 December).


What are the compliance requirements for tax returns in Greece?


Residents


Greek residents file tax return with their local tax office (in the area of the taxpayer’s residence or principal place of business or location of permanent establishment). Tax returns are submitted via the internet by using a unique username and password.



Administrative penalties


Where the taxpayer or any other person fails to file timely or does not file a tax return in relation to income and/or withholding tax or does not respond to the Tax Administration’s request for information, does not cooperate during the tax audit, does not proceed with registration with the tax authorities as a taxpayer and/or upon appointment as a tax representative, fails to comply with any obligation regarding the maintenance of books and records or to file notifications with the tax authorities, the following administrative penalties are imposed:


  • EUR 2 500 where any taxpayer fails to register with the Greek tax authorities.
  • EUR 100 where any taxpayer fails to timely file declarations of notifications or tax returns from which no tax arises.

If the same omission occurs within a period of five years, the penalty is doubled while in case of a subsequent occurrence of the same type of omission within the same five years, the penalty is quadrupled.


Other penalties


In case of delayed payment of tax the following penalties are imposed:


  • 10% of such tax, for a delay of more than two months following the initial payment deadline;
  • 20% of such tax, for a delay exceeding one year following the initial payment deadline;
  • 30% of such tax, for a delay exceeding two years following the initial payment deadline.

In case of filing of a an inaccurate tax return the following penalties are imposed:


  • 10% of the additional tax not reported, if such additional tax is equal to or higher than 5% but less than 20% of the tax due based on the tax return;
  • 30% of additional tax not reported, if such additional tax is higher than 20% of the tax due based on the tax return;
  • 100% of the additional tax not reported, if such additional tax is higher than 50% of the tax due based on the tax return and provided it can be proved that the inaccurate reporting of information was intentional.

Additional penalties


In case of non filing of a tax return the penalty imposed is equal to the tax that would apply in case of timely filing. Where a tax determination by estimation is made by the tax authorities, the penalty is 20% of the tax. The penalty for non payment of withholding taxes is equal to the amount of taxes that were not paid.


Under Greek tax law, employers are under the obligation to withhold Greek payroll tax from the remuneration paid to the employees in Greece, on a monthly basis (in Greece salary is payable 14 times per year). The tax withheld is determined on the basis of a table setting forth personal tax withholding rates.


The tax assessment note is issued immediately upon submission of the tax return.


Non-residents


Non-Greek tax residents should appoint a tax representative and file tax returns with the Non-Greek Resident Tax Office (provided that their tax representative’s tax office is in Athens).


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Tax rates

What are the current income tax rates for residents and non-residents in Greece?


Residents


Income tax table for 2014


Taxable income bracket Cumulative tax Tax rate on income in bracket
From EUR To EUR EUR Percent
0 25,000 5,500 22
25,001 42,000 5,440 32
42,001 No limit 42

Special scales apply in case of (a) severance payments and (b) annuity payment in the framework of group pension plans.


Specifically, severance payments are taxed at source which extinguishes any further tax liability for the individual, based on the following tax rates:


Taxable income bracket Cumulative tax Tax rate on income in bracket
From EUR To EUR EUR Percent
0 60,000 0 0
60,000.01 100,000 4,000 10
100,000.01 150,000.01 10,000 20
150,000.01 No limit   30

Furthermore, amounts payable to beneficiaries that correspond to insurance premiums paid by a company for group life insurance plans for their employees are taxed at source as follows:


  • 10% for the first EUR 40 000 and 20% for the part exceeding EUR 40 000.
  • 15% for every periodically paid benefit.

The above rates are increased by 50% in case of early redemption. The tax is withheld by the life insurance company.


Additionally, for income earned during 2010 up to 2014, a special solidarity contribution applies at the following rates:


Taxable income bracket Tax rate on income in bracket
From EUR To EUR Percent
0 12,000 0
12,001 20,000 1
20,001 50,000 2
50,001 100,000 3
100,001 Over 4

Non-residents


Above tax rates also apply to non–Greek tax residents as well.


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Residence rules

For the purposes of taxation, how is an individual defined as a resident of Greece?


Greek law states that Greek-source income is taxable in Greece, whereas individuals who are Greek tax residents are subject to tax in Greece on their worldwide income.


According to Greek tax legislation the residence of an individual for tax purposes is Greece, if respective individual has his residence or habitual residence or centre of vital interest in Greece. Furthermore, an individual is considered as a Greek tax resident as of the first day of his residence in Greece if he/she resides continuously in Greece for a period exceeding 183 days, including short term stay outside Greece.


However, respective provision is not applicable in case of individuals who are present in Greece only for tourism, medical, medicinal or equivalent personal purposes on condition that their presence does not exceed the 365 days threshold.


Non-Greek tax residents are not allowed any deductions from their income, unless they are tax residents of the EU or the EEA and they earn more than 90 percent of their global income in Greece or they can prove that their taxable income is that low that they should be entitles to deductions.


In principle, non-Greek tax residents, who report and are taxed in Greece only on their Greek source income, should file with non residents tax authority documentation proving their non-Greek tax status. However, the required documentation have het to be determined by Greek tax law.


Is there a de minimus number of days rule when it comes to residency start and end date? For example, a taxpayer can’t come back to the host country for more than 10 days after their assignment is over and they repatriate.


The 183 days rule applies in Greece; however, no specific timeframe is stipulated (e.g. calendar year or twelve-month period). Respective provision is subject to wide interpretation and thus clarifications are required by the Ministry of Finance.


What if the assignee enters the country before their assignment begins?


The mere presence of the individual in Greece prior to the commencement of his/her assignment could have an impact in case the individual is eligible for treaty protection as the days of his/her physical presence might exceed the days in Greece permitted by the respective double tax treaty (if there is one).


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Termination of residence

Are there any tax compliance requirements when leaving Greece?


Yes, the taxpayer must notify his competent tax office of his permanent departure from Greece within a 10 days period from the date of his departure. On the understanding that the taxpayer is eligible to apply for the amendment of his tax status to that of a non-Greek tax resident, he must appoint a Greek tax resident as his tax representative. Furthermore, assignees who received income for services rendered in Greece (which is taxable) in Greece have the obligation to submit an income tax return for this income and pay corresponding tax thereon.


What if the assignee comes back for a trip after residency has terminated?


Please refer to our comments above.


Communication between immigration and taxation authorities


Do the immigration authorities in Greece provide information to the local taxation authorities regarding when a person enters or leaves Greece?


There is no specific protocol for the exchange of information between the tax authorities and the immigration authorities in Greece. However both authorities in the course of their procedures and/ or audits will seek confirmation of proper registration and may seek to cross reference any information received.


Filing requirements


Will an assignee have a filing requirement in the host country after they leave the country and repatriate?


It depends on whether the assignee continues to receive income for services rendered in Greece or he/she has other reasons to have filing obligation, that is, the purchase of a house in Greece, assets, etc.


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Economic employer approach1

Do the taxation authorities in Greece adopt the economic employer approach to interpreting Article 15 of the OECD treaty? If no, are the taxation authorities in Greece considering the adoption of this interpretation of economic employer in the future?


Greek tax law does not specifically provide for the economic employer approach. However, the Greek tax authorities may adopt such approach on a case-by-case basis depending on the actual circumstances surrounding each case.


De minimus number of days2


Are there a de minimus number of days before the local taxation authorities will apply the economic employer approach? If yes, what is the de minimus number of days?


There is no de minimus number of days before the Greek tax authorities will apply the economic employer approach. Physical presence in Greece is the basis for applying the 183-days rule.


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Types of taxable compensation

What categories are subject to income tax in general situations?


The overriding assumption is that remuneration for services provided in Greece (employment income) is taxed in Greece. Furthermore, the market value of any benefit in kind received by an individual or his relatives is added to his taxable income, provided that the total amount of these benefits exceeds EUR 300.


Benefits, which are deemed to be employment income and are specifically stipulated by Greek legislation, include amongst others the following (the list is not exhaustive):


  • Company cars: the taxable income is calculated at the rate of 30% of the expense recorded in the employer’s accounting books.
  • Loan: the law provides a method to determine the value derived from loans to an employee or a partner or a shareholder by an individual, company or legal entity where a written loan agreement exists as well as in the absence of a written loan agreement. In addition, it is stipulated that the advance payment of more than three months salaries is considered a loan.
  • Stock option rights: the time at which the option is exercised or transferred is defined as the time at which the benefit is taxed. The tax base is determined using the closing price of the stock reduced by the cost of the option.
  • Housing allowance: rent paid by the employer, or in case of an owned house, the amount of 3% of the objective tax value of the property is added to taxable income of the Individual.
  • Cash bonuses

However, in accordance with jurisprudence, the reimbursement of expenses incurred by the employee for the purposes of carrying out assigned employment duties should not be deemed to be employment income.


Typical elements of an expatriate’s compensation package that are taxable include the following:



  • Income from employment includes all amounts paid or benefits-in-kind received in a year, on the understanding that the market value of the benefit exceeds EUR 300.
  • Reimbursements of foreign and/or home-country taxes form part of an individual’s compensation package are taxable if they relate to services provided in Greece.
  • A cost-of-living allowance normally forms part of an individual’s taxable income.
  • Whether or not expatriation premiums would form part of an individual’s taxable income in Greece depends primarily on the date these premiums are paid as well as the tax residence status of the employee at the date of payment and whether respective premiums relate to services provided in Greece. Payment of such premiums before the commencement of the Greek employment by an employer or division of the employer’s business located outside Greece and not ultimately borne by the Greek employer would not constitute taxable income in Greece. However, an allowance paid upon or after commencement of the individual’s assignment (employment) in Greece would principle be attributed to Greek employment and would thus constitute taxable income in Greece.
  • Cars owned by the employer and provided to the employee for both business and personal use give rise to income as analyzed earlier. Deferred compensation schemes, whereby an expatriate receives part of the compensation in the form of a lump-sum paid abroad on departure from Greece is taxable to the extent it relates to services provided in Greece (Greek-source income).
  • Stock option plans, whereby benefits arising from the exercise of stock options of a value lower than the stock exchange value at the time they are exercised considered as employment income and are subject to Greek income tax.

After adding up the various taxable elements of compensation, the employee is taxable on the net amount, which is defined as the total amount less the employee’s share of social security contributions. Please note that for Greek and expatriate employees registered on the Greek payroll, the Greek tax authorities should be provided with a salary statement, issued by the Greek employer, reporting the total taxes paid and withheld by the Greek employer as a result of the Greek employment. However, for Greek and expatriate employees who are not registered to the Greek payroll, the Greek tax authorities should be provided with a salary statement issued by their foreign employer reporting compensation received as well as taxes paid abroad.


Typical elements of an expatriate’s compensation package that are non-taxable (tax-exempt) include the following:


  • insurance premiums paid by the employee or the employer on behalf of an employee within the framework of group pension plans, however amounts payable to beneficiaries that correspond to insurance premiums paid by a company for group life insurance plans for their employees are taxed upon distribution separately at a special scale.
  • insurance premiums paid by the employer in order to cover medical and hospital care or death or incapacity of its staff within the framework of insurance plans, up to the annual amount of EUR 1 500 per employee.

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Tax-exempt income

Are there any areas of income that are exempt from taxation in Greece? If so, please provide a general definition of these areas.


The categories of income, which are exempt from tax, are the following:



  • Interest income derived from senior dept or treasury bills of the Greek Government
  • Interest income derived from bonds of the EFSF
  • Capital gain arising from the transfer of bonds of the Greek Government or of companies guaranteed by the Greek Government
  • Profits from the transfer of titles for the individuals who are tax residents of a country with which Greece has signed a Double Tax Treaty for the avoidance of double taxation, on condition that they provide a tax residence certificate
  • Certain allowances paid and expenses reimbursement by the employer to the employee are tax-free on the understanding that respective expenses were incurred exclusively in the frame of the business activity of the employer
  • Moreover, specific categories of employment income and pensions are "exempted" for income tax purposes by the new Income Tax Code (indicatively, income from performance of duties by a foreign diplomatic or consular representative etc, alimony received by the beneficiary, pensions received due to disability by war victims or their families etc, allowance, salaries or pensions to disabled persons with disability of at least 80%, allowance due to unemployment paid by OAED under conditions, EKAS allowance, payments to recognized political refuges etc.).
  • Capital gains arising from the transfer of mutual funds is tax exempt.
  • Profit from disposal of produced electricity to DEH company or another supplier after joining the "Special development program of photovoltaic systems up to ten (10) KW"

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Expatriate concessions

Are there any concessions made for expatriates in Greece?


Expatriates who are non-Greek residents are only subject to tax on income from Greek sources. Non-residents could have dual contracts and not be subject to tax on income earned for services provided outside Greece. In practice, most foreign nationals who are on expatriate assignments in Greece are considered non-Greek residents and may exclude employment income from working outside Greece on condition that such employment income does not relate to services provided in Greece.


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Salary earned from working abroad

Is salary earned from working abroad taxed in Greece? If so, how?


Greek tax legislation does not provide any relief to Greek residents who earn a salary outside Greece, except for certain classes of Greek civil servants who are required to fill a vacancy abroad.


Any other income of the taxpayer is normally added to employment income in order to arrive at taxable income.


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Taxation of investment income and capital gains

Are investment income and capital gains taxed in Greece? If so, how?


Income from dividends is classified as capital income. According to Greek legislation, dividends are subject to withholding tax at the rate of 10 percent. The aforementioned taxation exhausts the tax liability in case the beneficiary is an individual.


Income from interest is subject to withholding tax rate of 15 percent that exhausts the tax liability in case the beneficiary is an individual.


Income from rental of real estate is included in the taxable income of an individual, and is taxed at the rate of 11 percent for income up to EUR12,000 and 33 percent for income exceeding EUR12,000.


Capital gains arising from the transfer of real estate, securities and derivatives is taxable at the rate of 15% as of January 2014 and on the condition that it is not considered business profit.


Furthermore, a 0.2 percent tax is imposed on the sale of shares listed in the Athens stock exchanges or in foreign exchanges.


Benefits arising from the exercise of stock options of a value lower than the stock exchange value at the time they are exercised are considered as employment income and are subject to Greek income tax.


The benefit resulting from the exercise of stock options is calculated as the difference between the price paid by the beneficiary and the fair market value at the date of the exercise.


Residency status Taxable at:
Grant Vest Exercise
Resident N N Y
Non-resident N N Y*
Other (if applicable) N/A N/A N/A

* On condition that the stock options provide refer to services rendered in Greece.


Foreign exchange gains and losses


The importation and exportation of foreign currency into and out of Greece is unrestricted. Both residents and non-residents may maintain foreign currency accounts with banks in Greece. Such accounts may be credited with any foreign currency which arises from Greece or abroad, including foreign bank notes and foreign exchange which is purchased with Euros. The funds and interest thereon may be freely transferred abroad by residents and non-residents. No tax relief is available for foreign exchange losses and foreign exchange gains are not taxable per se.


Principal residence gains and losses


There is a capital gain tax on the disposal of a principal residence in Greece.


However, the capital gain from the transfer of real estate is tax-free if the following conditions are cumulatively met:


  • The amount of the capital gain does not exceed the amount of EUR 25,000.
  • The real estate property was in the possession of the taxpayer for a period longer than five (5) years.
  • The taxpayer has conducted no other act of transfer of real estate property in the past five years.

Personal use items


Please see Overview and Introduction regarding treatment of imputed income on the basis of living expenses or acquisition of certain assets.


Gifts


A tax reduction of 10 percent of amount donated to organizations recognized by the Minister of Finance is permitted with the restriction that donations may not exceed 5 percent of the taxable income, while the amount donated within the tax year must exceed the amount of EUR 100.


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Additional capital gains tax (CGT) issues and exceptions

Are there additional capital gains tax (CGT) issues in Greece? If so, please discuss?


Real estate tax is imposed on individuals and legal entities irrespective of their citizenship as follows.



The main tax on buildings ranges from EUR 2 to EUR 13 per square meter depending on their location/tax zone, multiplied by certain coefficients depending on the building’s age, etc.


The main tax for plots of land located within city limits or zoned areas ranges from EUR 0.003 to EUR 9 per square meter depending on their location/tax zone.


The main tax for plots of land located outside city limits or zoned areas is EUR 0.001 per square meter, multiplied by certain coefficients depending on their use, whether they are irrigated, etc.


The main tax is increased fivefold, if a residence is built on such a plot of land.


A supplementary tax is imposed on individuals owning real estate exceeding EUR 300 000 in total and it will be calculated at rates ranging from 0.1% up to 1% depending on the total objective tax value owned.


A supplementary tax is imposed on all real estate owned by legal entities at the rate of 5‰ of the objective tax value.


VAT is increased on the transfer of new buildings (that is the construction licenses of which were issued or revised after 1 January 2006) at the rate of 23 percent, on condition that they are used for the first time by the purchaser as his secondary residence or commercial property. Following this first transfer, every subsequent transfer will be subject to real estate transfer tax.


Are there capital gains tax exceptions in Greece? If so, please discuss?


Please refer to our comments above.


General deductions from income


What are the general deductions from income allowed in Greece?


Certain personal deduction is available to Greek residents in computing their taxable income. Such deduction is the mandatory employee-portion of social security contributions on employment income. Furthermore, contributions to group private pension funds are also deductible items, since the annuity paid at the end of the program is taxed separately via a special scale.


Tax reimbursement methods

What are the tax reimbursement methods generally used by employers in Greece?


The most common tax reimbursement method used by the employers in Greece is the tax equalization method. However, the concept of hypothetical tax is not recognized for Greek tax purposes.


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Calculation of estimates/prepayments/withholding

How are estimates/prepayments/withholding of tax handled in Greece? For example, Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG), and so on.


Pay-as-you-earn (PAYE)


Tax withholding is handled as Pay-As-You-Earn.


Employers are required to withhold income tax from salaries, wages and other remuneration paid to their employees. The amounts withheld are determined in accordance with the scale of ordinary income tax rates applicable to individuals.


Income tax must be withheld on a monthly basis b the employer. Furthermore, it must be emitted to the tax authorities by the end of the second month after the payment of the employment income which is subject to tax withholding.


At the end of the year, the employer is obliged to prepare an annual payroll tax return of amounts paid and taxes withheld. Any amount of tax due should be paid upon the filing of respective return.


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Relief for foreign taxes

Is there any Relief for Foreign Taxes in Greece? For example, a foreign tax credit (FTC) system, double taxation treaties, and so on?


Income tax paid outside from Greece by Greek tax residents on foreign-source income is offset against the tax payable in Greece up to the amount of Greek tax corresponding to such foreign-source income. The Greek tax attributable to the foreign-source income is determined by allocating the total Greek tax proportionately between Greek and foreign-source income.


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General tax credits

What are the general tax credits that may be claimed in Greece? Please list below.


  • A tax credit of EUR 2 100 is introduced. This is given in full to employees and pensioners with annual income up to EUR 21 000. For income exceeding EUR 21 000, the amount of tax credit is limited to EUR 100 per EUR 1 000 of income and up to the elimination of the amount of EUR 2 100. Only for tax year 2014, the tax credit of max EUR 2 100 is conditional upon collection of certain amount of receipts which is calculated as a percentage on income (e.g. 10% of taxable income) up to a maximum amount of EUR 10 500 for each individual and EUR 21 000 for married couple.
  • Tax reduction equal to 10% of medical and hospital expenses (up to EUR 3 000), is permitted where such medical and hospital expenses exceed 5% of taxable income.
  • Tax reduction of 10% of amounts donated to organizations recognized by decision of the Minister of Finance is permitted with the restriction that donations may not exceed 5% of taxable income, while the amount donated within the tax year must exceed EUR 100.

Certain conditions apply in case of non-Greek tax residents in order to qualify for the tax credits.


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Sample tax calculation

This calculation assumes a married taxpayer coming to Greece with two children whose three-year assignment begins 1 January 2014 and ends 31 December 2016. The taxpayer’s base salary is USD100,000 and the calculation covers three years.


2011
USD
2012
USD
2013
USD
Salary 100,000 100,000 100,000
Bonus 20,000 20,000 20,000
Cost-of-living allowance 10,000 10,000 10,000
Housing allowance 12,000 12,000 12,000
Company car 6,000 6,000 6,000
Moving expense reimbursement 20,000 0 20,000
Home leave 0 5,000 0
Education allowance 3,000 3,000 3,000
Interest income from non-local sources 6,000 6,000 6000

Exchange rate used for calculation: USD1.00 = EUR 0.73 (02.01.2014)


Other assumptions


  • All earned income is attributable to local sources.
  • Bonuses are paid at the end of each tax year, and accrue evenly throughout the year.
  • Interest income is not remitted to Greece.
  • The company car is used for business and private purposes and originally cost USD50,000.
  • The employee is deemed resident throughout the assignment.
  • Tax treaties and totalization agreements are ignored for the purpose of this calculation.
  • The amount of receipts necessary is collected (applicable only for tax year 2014)

Calculation of taxable income


Year ended 2014
EUR
2015
EUR
2016
EUR
Days in Greece during year 365 365 365
Earned income subject to income tax
Salary 73,000 73,000 73,000
Bonus 14,600 14,600 14,600
Cost-of-living allowance 7,300 7,300 7,300
Net housing allowance 8,760 8,760 8,760
Company car 4,380 4,380 4,380
Moving expense reimbursement 14,600 0 14,600
Home leave 0 3,650 0
Education allowance 2,190 2,190 2,190
Total earned income 124,830 113,880 124,830
Other income 4,380 4,380 4,380
Total income 129,210 118,260 129,210
Non-taxable items 0 0 0
Total taxable income 124,830 113,880 124,830

Calculation of tax liability


2014
EUR
2015
EUR
2016
EUR
Taxable income as above 124,830 113,880 124,830
Greek tax thereon
Income tax 45,728.60 41,129.60 45,728.60
Solidarity contribution 5,168.40 0 0
Domestic tax credits (dependent spouse/ children credit) 0 0 0
Foreign tax credits 0 0 0
Total Greek tax 50,897.00 41,129.60 45,728.60

* Interest income is taxed at the rate of 15% as well as at the rate of 4% for solidarity contribution (since income exceeds EUR 100,000 threshold).


** Social security contributions have not been considered.




1Certain tax authorities adopt an “economic employer” approach to interpreting Article of the OECD model treaty which deals with the Dependent Services Article. In summary, this means that if an employee assigned to work for an entity in the host country for a period of less than 183 days in the fiscal year (or, a calendar year of a 12-month period), the employee remains employed by the home country employer but the employee’s salary and costs are recharged to the host entity, then the host country tax authority will treat the host entity as being the “economic employer” and therefore the employer for the purposes of interpreting Article 15. In case, article 15 relief would be denied and the employee would be subject to tax in the host country.


2For example, an employee can be physically present in the country for up to 60 days before the tax authorities will apply the economic employer approach.




© 2014 KPMG Advisors AE, a Greece Corporation and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (KPMG International), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

 

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Taxation of international executives