BUSINESS

Greece offers new incentives for relocation

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance, Taxation

The government is about to complete measures seen attracting businesses and workers to Greece with the submission of a clause to that effect in a bill against smuggling.

The clause provides for major tax breaks for salary workers and freelance professionals who move to Greece and favors the return of Greeks who left the country in the last 10-15 years, as well as any professionals wishing to work for Greek or foreign enterprises that relocate to Greece from the United Kingdom.

This follows a 2019 law that introduced the notion of attracting “non-doms” to Greece – i.e. people who come here to live and become tax residents here after making significant investments in this country – and a 2020 law that offers pensioners who move here from abroad favorable income tax options.

The clause submitted to Parliament appears to be a step ahead of similar measures introduced in other countries, just like the other two measures mentioned above.

It offers a 50% reduction of income tax for salary workers and freelancers who shift their tax domicile to Greece, as well as an exemption from the calculation of their private car ownership and use of their incomes as evidence. These measures will apply for the first seven years after the workers move to Greece.

Among the conditions of eligibility is that applicants must have spent at least seven of the last years as tax residents of other countries. However, sources say it is highly likely that this criterion will be eased if a significant number of Greeks who left the country in recent years appear keen to return.

A senior Finance Ministry official who was asked whether this clause creates an unfair advantage over those already working in Greece responded that the rule is not aimed at drawing an influx of freelance professionals from fellow European Union countries and that there will be ministerial decisions to close any loopholes that may arise. He added that the new regulation concerns new jobs, and not the replacement of existing workers.

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