During the past few months, the European Commission has been forced to take urgent measures to reverse the undisputed dire economic effects of the pandemic of COVID-19 to the global economy. In that direction, Greece is also planning to bring a positive momentum to the economy, with tax measures being under the government’s microscope in order to help businesses recover from the adverse effects of the pandemic and stimulate the market’s growth.
In view of the above, the Greek Government introduced Law 4799/2021, modifying the Greek Taxation Code, providing for a tax reduction package for businesses registered in Greece, individuals who conduct business in Greece, corporations and other legal entities, while excluding financial institutions, the Bank of Greece, post office giro institutions, the Deposit and Consignment Office.
Reduction of advance payment of income tax
Up until now, the Greek Government was requiring the prepayment of the entire income tax referring to the following tax year, based on the present year’s tax, in an effort to boost revenues following the recession. As a result, the following year a clearance would take place among the tax actually owed for the current fiscal year and the tax prepaid, in order to either require its completion or its partial return, where applicable.
Nonetheless, this provision, as stipulated in Articles 69 and 71 of the Greek Taxation Code, as amended by Article 119 of Law 4799/2021, has now been modified in order for the index of the income tax that natural persons exercising business activity have to prepay to be reduced from 100% to 55%, starting from the fiscal year 2020.
At the same time, the relevant index for legal entities is reduced from 100% to 80% starting from the fiscal year 2021 onwards, while for the fiscal year 2020 exclusively it is being set at 70%.
Of course, the tax concessions provided by the Greek law for start-ups during their first three years of operation and the so-called angel investors, which provide for a reduction of the above prepayment index to 50%, remain unchanged, thus still applying in the relevant cases.
Income tax reduction for legal entities
So far, all legal entities established in Greece were subject to 24% tax on their annual income, while financial institutions were subject to a 29% tax upon their annual revenue.
Taking into consideration the need to promote entrepreneurship and innovation, following the investments of major businesses and corporations, such as Pfizer, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (for more information, you can visit https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/amazons-first-web-services-office-athens-greece-charalampos-amoiridis/), the Greek Government is introducing a relevant income tax reduction from 24% to 22%.
In particular, Article 120 of Law 4799/2021 provides for an amendment to Article 58 of the Greek Fiscal Code, rendering the above tax reduction possible starting from the fiscal year 2021 onwards, while for the previous years it will remain at 24%. Keeping in mind that the tax rate for legal entities had even scaled up to 28% in the previous years, this tax measure is an indicative sign of the country’s constantly increasing innovation-friendly direction. Consequently, it is not only the recovery from the pandemic-related restrictions that will be enhanced, but also contribute to the market’s growth and investment potential.
It is worth noting that income tax referring to financial institutions remains at the prior levels of 29%, as the newly-introduced legislation’s main goal is to promote enterprises over banking institutions.
Taxation of stock exchange transactions
According to Article 112 of Law 4799/2021, clarifying the conditions in the case of stock exchange transactions, carried out via the Greek Central Securities Depository, as operating since 12.04.2021, a tax of 0,2% is implemented on the sale and purchase of stocks introduced in a regulated market. The above-mentioned tax is calculated on the basis of the stock’s value and burdens the seller, whether they are a natural person or a legal entity or a fund etc and regardless of their nationality and place of residence or establishment.
Moreover, the above tax is implemented in stock transactions in cases where stocks are introduced in a regulated market even when taking place abroad, as long as the sellers are natural persons having their residence in Greece or Greek or foreign businesses permanently established in Greece.
Nonetheless, in this last case, tax is not due when the transaction is carried out at a foreign Stock Exchange with which the Stock Exchange of Athens has established a joint electronic system of negotiations, under the condition that there is a similar provision of taxation in the third-country’s legal order.
The tax reductions seem to be a wind of fresh air for the businesses in Greece and generally for the Greek economy, as the tax reductions are drawing the interest of entrepreneurs and investors wishing to expand their business portfolio. As a result, Greece, with a location of strategic importance, connecting continents, is establishing itself once more to the international business market, hoping to attract even more investors wishing to launch their business activity in Greece.
Along with the Greek Government’s latest initiatives, not only as far as the legal framework is concerned, but also with regards to the tax regime, including favourable provisions for natural persons and legal entities wishing to establish in Greece, it is evident that the country is becoming a more and more attractive destination for innovation and entrepreneurship.
At Amoiridis Law Services® we are dedicated at assisting our well-respected clients successfully complete any of their business projects in Greece. Thanks to our longstanding experience, we are able to provide a full package of consultancy services to our almost exclusively international clientele, customised to their specific needs.
As a result, we have represented clients from all around the globe regarding their projects in Greece. Our network of associate experts, composed by both in-house and external solicitors, notaries, accountants, tax experts, currency exchange experts, realtors etc., enables us to provide an all-in-one package of consultancy services, guiding you through the ways to properly protect your investments.
For any further information and clarifications please do not hesitate to contact our qualified legal team, ready to provide you with further personalised information tailored to your needs and your profile.
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Athens, July 2021