VAT in Greece

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Greece VAT

Greece comes under the EU VAT regime, and is part of the EU single market economy. VAT Directives are issued by the EU which lay out the principles of the VAT regime to be adopted by the member states. These Directives take precedent over the local legislation.

Greece VAT law

The Greek VAT law is contained within the General Tax Code. It is administered by the Ministry of Finance and local tax offices.

Greek VAT registration

All foreign companies may register for VAT in Greece without the need to form a local permanent establishment, known as non-resident VAT trading. There is no VAT threshold in Greece for the registration of non-resident traders; a VAT number must be in place before the commencement of taxable supplies.

There are strict rules on the situations where a registration is permitted. Common scenarios which require a Greek VAT registration include:

  • importing goods into Greece
  • organising live events, conferences, etc, in Greece
  • holding goods in a warehouse in Greece as stock for resale
  • 'supply and install' services over 12 months
  • selling goods from Greece to other EU countries
  • distance selling to private individuals in Greece, e.g. internet retailing
  • supplying goods that are located in Greece at the time of supply.

Registering for Greek VAT generally takes two to three weeks, although this can vary.

Greek VAT compliance

There are detailed rules controlling the recording and processing of Greek transactions. These include guidelines on:

  • Greek invoice requirements
  • foreign currency reporting and translation
  • correcting errors from prior returns
  • credit notes and corrections
  • what accounting records must be maintained.

Greece VAT rates

The standard VAT rate in Greece is 23%. There is a reduced rate of 13% for food and drink; pharmaceutical products; passenger transport; and other. There is also a 6.5%% VAT rate (from Jan 2011) for hotel accommodation; medicines and vaccines; children’s books; newspapers; and other selected goods.

There are many variations to the rates above, including exempt taxable supplies.

Greek VAT returns

Companies with a Greek VAT number must submit periodic returns detailing all taxable supplies (sales) and inputs (costs). Generally, returns in Greece are submitted quarterly. VAT returns in Greece are due by the 25th of the month following the reporting period.

Greek Intrastat and EC sales lists

In addition to VAT returns in Greece, companies may be required to submit additional statistical information.

The Greek Intrastat, which lists sales (dispatches) and purchases (acquisitions), within the EU region, must be filed monthly once the annual threshold is exceeded. Greek EC sales lists, or a recapitulative statement, details customers and the values of sales made to them. It must be submitted on a monthly basis, and there is no threshold for reporting.

Greece VAT refunds

If a foreign company is providing taxable supplies in Greece but is unable to obtain a Greek VAT number, or is incurring Greek VAT on local goods or services, then any Greek VAT incurred may be recovered through a VAT reclaim.

VAT refund applications are made through the tax authorities of the applicant’s home country.

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