This guide contains basic information related to VAT in Greece. The Greek VAT rules are based on the EU Directives and the national standards within the EU Directives. The VAT system in Greece is similar to the system in many other EU member states and some countries outside the EU. However, the Greek VAT rules are in many cases controlled by case law and national standards. This guide is written as a general information guide about VAT Representation in Greece. Before starting up your activity in Greece, you should thoroughly examine the VAT consequences for your company. ABACUS will be pleased to assist you.
Foreign companies that carry out certain commercial activities in Greece, may be liable to render VAT returns and are consequently obliged to register for VAT and ensure that they abide by all fiscal regulations that it entails. Businesses established in the EU will be entitled to register either:
- Directly (without a fiscal representative)
- Through the appointment of a local fiscal representative
Businesses established outside the EU will need to employ the services of a local fiscal representative, through which a VAT registration may be obtained.
A foreign business should register for Greece VAT if its activities in Greece are subject to VAT (except for cases where the obligation to account for VAT transfers to the purchaser, or where the zero rate applies).
If your business is not registered for VAT in Greece but sells and delivers goods from another EU Member State to customers in Greece who are not VAT registered (distance sales), your business is required to register and account for VAT in Greece if the threshold of Euro 35.000,00 is exceeded.
Are there penalties for not registering or late registration?
Where a business fails to register on time, it must account for VAT on all taxable transactions during the period it was required to be registered. The recovery of input tax incurred during this period could be decreased accordingly.
In addition, a late payment interest will be due.
Are there any simplifications that could avoid the need for an overseas company to register for VAT?
If your business makes supplies of goods or services in Greece, then it is required to register and account for Greek VAT. However, it is possible to avoid registering and accounting for Greek VAT when making certain supplies.
In the following examples the obligation to account for the VAT due can be shifted to the customer provided that the customer is registered for VAT in Greece.
If a foreign business is an intermediate supplier to a Greek buyer of goods which the foreign business purchases from another business in an EU Member State other than its own and are delivered from there to Greece, VAT due can be accounted for by the Greek customer (subject to certain conditions).
Reverse Charge Services
These services are covered in more detail at section
International Supplies of Goods and Services.
Bear in mind that these provisions are subject to particular requirements and so you should check carefully whether you comply with them.
What are the returns need to be submitted?
Most registered businesses are required to submit VAT returns on a monthly basis.
The tax period of a non-Greek VAT payer is a calendar two-months.
VAT return for current return period must be submitted till the 20th day of next VAT return period.
Failure to submit nil or claimable VAT returns on time may result in an administrative penalty amounting from appr. Euro 117,00 Euro 1.170,00 (negotiable).
The late payment of VAT attracts a late payment interest of 1,5% per month on VAT due.
European Transactions Listing
If your business supplies / purchases goods which are shipped from / Greece or provides services to VAT registered businesses in other EU Member States and you wish to apply the zero rate on the supply, it is required to complete European Sales / Purchases List.
European Transactions List must be filled electronically on a monthly basis within 20 days following the end of each month.
Intrastat Supplementary Declarations
VAT registered businesses should announce the dispatches or arrivals of goods to or from other EU Member States.
Intrastat statements must be filled electronically with the tax authorities on a monthly basis within 20 working days after the end of each month.
Can I recover VAT if I am not registered?
Yes. If your business is established in another EU Member State then you should make a claim under Directive 2008/9/ EEC.
If your business is a non-EU business you should recover the VAT under the 13th Directive.
Under both of these provisions there are strict time limits for making claims.