BUSINESS

‘Non dom’ scheme picking up

ILIAS BELLOS

TAGS: Taxation, Economy

In mid-October an official from a major consultancy firm appeared at a tax office holding a sizable dossier. It contained the details of 200 foreign taxpayers with large properties seeking to become Greek taxpayers and take advantage of the special “non dom” status. Most of them were people of Greek origin who had been living abroad for years, or second-generation Greeks.

The initial surprise of authorities was succeeded by the certainty that the plan to gradually transform the country into a post-Brexit hub for wealthy entrepreneurs and corporation from the City of London has good chances of being a success.

The same official also submitted a list of concerns that would have to be addressed before his clients could decide to transfer their tax domicile to Greece. For instance, the law stipulates that for a foreigner to become a Greek tax resident – and face a small flat tax rate – he or she would have to carry out an investment of at least 500,000 euros within three years. In the case of bond or stock purchases, however, it is unknown how long the foreigner has to hold them for.

Strong interest on the one hand and the gray areas in the law on the other, have led the government to expands the scope of the scheme by providing more incentives for more categories of foreigners seeking to move their tax residence.

Multinational businesses and auditing firms that are active in Greece have been surprised by the interest being expressed and are focusing a large part of their activities on non dom. In fact, one major auditing company has already carried out procedures for 15 foreigners who are now tax residents in Greece.

One of its clients, an Indian citizen, is in the billionaire category as his fortune tops €4-5 billion. He obtained a Greek tax registration number (AFM) a few days ago and by end-December must pay the state tax worth €100,000, as foreseen by the law. The Indian billionaire has reportedly spent long periods of time in Greece recently, impressed by the country’s natural attractions and climate.

Another noteworthy development is that most applicants have been European nationals, against expectations for Chinese and Russians.

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