Greece Country Profile

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1 Greece Country Profile EU Tax Centre March 2013 Key factors for efficient cross-border tax planning involving Greece EU Member State Double Tax Treaties With: Albania Estonia Lithuania Serbia Armenia Finland Luxembourg Slovakia Austria France Malta Slovenia Azerbaijan Georgia Mexico South Africa Belgium Germany Moldova Spain Bosnia and Hungary Morocco Sweden (a) Herzegovina Bulgaria Iceland Netherlands Switzerland Canada India Norway Tunisia China Rep. of Ireland Poland Turkey Croatia Israel Portugal (b) UAE Cyprus Italy Qatar UK Czech Rep. Rep. of Korea Romania Ukraine Denmark Kuwait Russia US Egypt Latvia Saudi Arabia Uzbekistan Notes: (a) Treaty concluded on July 23, 2007 but not yet in force. (b) Treaty concluded on January 18, 2010 but not yet in force. Residence A company is resident if either its legal seat or its place of effective management is in Greece. Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide income. Non-resident companies are taxed only on their Greek source income, as explicitly provided in law. Compliance requirements for CIT purposes Filing of annual income tax returns. Recording of entries in accounting books. 1

2 Tax rate The standard corporate income tax rate is 26 percent. Withholding tax rates On dividends paid to non-resident companies A 25 percent dividend withholding tax applies on distributed profits approved by December 31, A 10 percent dividend withholding tax applies on distributed profits approved on and after January 1, An exemption from dividend withholding tax may apply if the EU Parent-Subsidiary Directive applies (based on the conditions mentioned below for inbound dividends) or could be reduced based on available double tax treaties. The EU Directive applies in relation to outbound dividends paid to EU entities if the following two conditions are met by the EU Parent Company: Participation requirement: 10 percent; Minimum holding period: two years. On interest paid to non-resident companies 33 percent on intercompany loan interest, 15 percent on deposit interest and nil withholding tax on bond loan interest. No withholding tax on interest payments made by a Greek company to an associated company in an EU Member State (provided that certain conditions are met). However, a transitional period applies: 5 percent from July 1, 2009, through June 30, On patent royalties and certain copyright royalties paid to non-resident companies 25 percent. No withholding tax on royalty payments made by a Greek company to an associated company in an EU Member State (provided that certain conditions are met). However, a transitional period applies: 5 percent from July 1, 2009, through June 30, Holding Dividend received from resident/non-resident subsidiaries? a) 25 percent withholding tax on the net dividend received from resident subsidiaries if approved until December 31, percent if approved on or after January 1, b) No withholding tax when the distributing company is established in another EU country provided that the provisions of the EU Parent Subsidiary Directive are fulfilled: Participation requirements: 10 percent; Minimum holding period: 2 years. c) Dividends received by Greek entities from non-eu resident subsidiaries will be subject to 20 percent WHT. Only where the subsidiary is established in a country with a DTT can tax withheld pursuant to the DTT be credited against the 20 percent tax. Additional credit for underlying corporate income tax is available under certain conditions. 2

3 Holding (cont d) Capital gains The sale of non-listed shares in Greek SA companies is subject to capital gains tax in Greece at the rate of 20 percent. For the calculation of the capital gain, a specific formula is applied. For companies, any gain earned from the sale of non-listed shares is subject to the general income tax provisions with the right to offset the 20 percent tax. If the seller is a foreign company both (i) resident in a country with which Greece has concluded a double tax treaty and (ii) which does not have a permanent establishment in Greece, the proceeds from the sale of the shares can be exempt from this tax. Profits from the sale of listed shares (in Greece or abroad) are taxed at 20 percent when such shares are acquired by any means from July 1, 2013 onward. Such withholding tax exhausts the tax liability of individuals, whereas if the beneficiaries are legal entities, the income is further taxed according to the general provisions and a credit is granted for the tax already withheld. There is also a 0.2 percent stock exchange transaction duty upon the sale of such shares. Deductibility of costs Interest costs: Deductible if considered productive and properly documented and subject to thin cap and assuming loan is not used by the entity to buy shares of resident or non-resident companies that will be disposed of within 2 years after acquisition; Acquisition costs: Deductible from sale price to determine gain on disposal; Costs on disposal: Professional fees and disposal taxes as above. Tax losses The carry-forward period for losses is 5 years. Tax consolidation /Group relief Registration duties Capital tax of 1.1 percent applies on the nominal share capital for capital increases of Greek legal entities (AE and EPE legal form) and on contributed capital of branches of non-eu resident entities. Transfer duties On the transfer of shares 0.2 percent stock exchange transaction duty applies on the sale/transfer of shares listed in the Athens Stock Exchange. On the transfer of land and buildings VAT is imposed on the transfer of new buildings (whose construction licenses were issued or amended after January 1, 2006) at the rate of 23%, on condition that they are to be used for the first time by the purchaser as his secondary residence or commercial property. 3

4 Following this first transfer, every subsequent transfer is subject to real estate transfer tax (as is the non-exempt value of purchase of primary residence). Real estate transfer tax rates are 8 percent on the first EUR 20,000 and 10 percent on the balance. A local authority surcharge, equal to 3 percent of the transfer tax, is also levied. Moreover, capital gains tax on the sale of real estate applies at the rate of 20 percent (as regards real estate acquired and further sold after January 1, 2013). Controlled Foreign Company Transfer pricing General transfer pricing According to the provisions of Greek Tax Law 2238/1994, arm s length apply to Greek entities controlled by foreign companies and to domestic related enterprises which cover all intercompany transactions (and not only cross-border transactions). Greek income tax law extends the application of the basic transfer pricing to branches of foreign entities. Greek tax law specifically provides for the Comparable Uncontrolled Price ( CUP ) method. In cases where the CUP method cannot apply, the tax authorities may, in practice, employ the resale price or the cost-plus method. A provision on transfer pricing in accordance with the OECD Model Double Taxation Convention is included in all Greek double tax treaties. Documentation requirement? Thin capitalization Thin capitalization apply with respect to the deductibility of accrued interest on loans, bonds, or credits which are paid or credited to affiliated enterprises (on the condition that the ratio of these loans or credits to the enterprise s net assets does not exceed 3:1 on average, per fiscal year). According to the provisions of tax law, affiliated companies are companies characterized by a direct or indirect substantial administrative or financial dependence or control relationship. Leasing companies of Law 1665/19886, factoring companies of Law 1905/1990, companies of Law 3156/2003 and of Law 3601/2007 seated in Greece, credit companies of Law 2937/2001, companies of Law 3606/2007 which provide investment services and credit institutions which operate in Greece are exempted from the above provisions. 4

5 General Anti- Avoidance (GAAR) Specific Anti- Avoidance /Anti Treaty Shopping Provisions Advance Ruling system Rulings can be obtained, but are not binding although they are generally followed by tax authorities. They are not subject to the payment of a fee. IP / R&D incentives Other incentives Some investment incentives are available. VAT The standard rate is 23 percent. Hybrid Instruments Are you aware of any instruments in your country that are treated differently in another country (i.e. PPL, etc)? Does your jurisdiction have special for Hybrid Instruments? Hybrid Entities Are you aware of entities/partnerships in your country that are treated differently in another country? Does your jurisdiction have special for Hybrid Entities? Other points of attentions Source: Greek tax law and local tax administration guidelines, updated

6 Contact us Angela Iliadis KPMG in Greece T E KPMG International Cooperative ( KPMG International ), a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm. All rights reserved. Country Profile is published by KPMG International Cooperative in collaboration with the EU Tax Centre. Its content should be viewed only as a general guide and should not be relied on without consulting your local KPMG tax adviser for the specific application of a country s tax to your own situation. The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. The KPMG name, logo and cutting through complexity are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International.

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