ECONOMY

Tax system wooing foreigners

Incentives introduced by government attract investors and pensioners from other countries

tax-system-wooing-foreigners

Pensioners and investors from dozens of countries have applied to transfer their tax residence to Greece, partly thanks to the incentives being offered and partly because of Brexit, while dozens of young people who left the country during last decade’s brain drain are now coming back home.

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, his deputy Apostolos Vesyropoulos and General Secretary for Tax Policy Athina Kalyva said on Monday that 75 investors (plus their relatives) from 21 countries – including Switzerland, Belgium, the United States, Oman, Israel, Monaco, Argentina, Australia and Russia – have moved their tax domicile to Greece, paying taxes of 9.4 million euros.

Staikouras said the plan to woo new tax residents and investments to Greece has already been successful in the two years since it was introduced, with even more revenues expected to come thanks to the large number of applications submitted by workers and self-employed professionals seeking to pay tax in Greece.

Foreign pensioners have also grabbed the opportunity to become Greek taxpayers: In the first 10 months of 2021 alone there were 206 applications to that affect, with 157 from 21 countries already approved. The law states that retirees receiving their pension from another country and moving to Greece will for the first 15 years enjoy a flat tax rate of 7%, regardless of the level of their income. Any incomes generated in Greece, however, will bear the normal tax rates that Greeks pay, as they have to declare all of their takings, from their home country, from Greece and from third countries.

There also are more than 1,000 Greeks who left the country at the start of the previous decade, when the financial crisis broke out, who are now on their way back to Greece. They have applied to shift their tax residence back home thanks to the government’s tax incentives. This is mainly attributed to the exemption from income tax and the solidarity levy for 50% of their income in Greece for the first seven years.