A.Persons who transfer their normal residence to Greece: (Persons in Chapter B΄, Decision of the Minister of Economy and Finance no. D.245/88)
1.Transfer of normal residence
Persons (foreigners or even Greeks) who have their normal residence abroad and transfer it to Greece, in order to settle permanently, may import-transfer, under the tax relief provided, their personal belongings (household items, cars, etc.). In any case luxury tax, when applicable, will have to be paid.
A persons normal residence is the place where someone usually resides, that is to say, for at least one hundred and eighty five (185) days per twelve-month period, because of personal and professional bonds. In case of a person without professional bonds, someone’s normal residence is the place where he/she usually resides (for at least 185 days per 12-month period), because of personal bonds, that produce strong bonds between the person and the place where he/she lives, i.e. in order to determine the normal residence of a person, the personal (family) bonds prevail.
Consequently, in order to ascertain whether a person has his/her normal residence at a place abroad, he/she must prove, on the one hand, that he/she stays in this place for at least one hundred and eighty five (185) days in each 12-month period and, on the other hand, that his/her stay in this place is due to him/her having his/her personal and professional bonds. In case of a person without professional bonds, normal residence is considered the place that this person resides for at least 185 days per 12 months having only his personal bonds there, from which we can conclude that the person has strong bonds with this place, meaning that personal bonds prevail in order to see which is his normal residence.
Studying at a University or another faculty of a country, does not mean that the person has transferred his/her normal residence in this country.
2. Establishing the right of transferring the normal residence
The professional bonds of a person are proved by means of practising his profession. The personal bonds of a person are proved since his family has settled down in a place or since he has established other bonds in this place. We indicatively mention some supporting documents, for establishing the right of transferring the normal residence:
the person is settled with his/her family (evidence of residence for himself/herself and the other members of the family).
the person has the citizenship of the country or, if he/she is a Greek citizen, he/she has a permanent residence and work permit, issued by the competent authorities.
the person is working in this country.
the person is a taxpayer-citizen of this country.
the person owns or rents a house in this country.
the person is insured through the social security system of this country.
the person is registered in the city in which he/she has settled.
papers concerning children’s education (if there are any).
any other papers, by which strong bonds of the person with this place result, in combination with the above.
3. Concurrence of conditions for tax relief (Article 4, Decision of the Minister of Economy and Finance no. D.245/88) (Persons in Chapter H, Decision of the Minister of Economy and Finance no. D.245/88 )
In order tax relief to be granted, the person concerned must have his/her normal residence abroad, at least the last two (2) twelve-month periods before he/she transfers his normal residence, i.e. before he/she receives the transfer of normal residence certificate by the competent Greek Consular Authority.
In practice, there are only two cases which ascertain the establishment of the transfer of normal residence right:
Before the date of issuance of the above mentioned certificate, the person concerned must have his/her normal residence abroad the last two twelve-month periods.
When the first case does not apply, because the person concerned was in Greece for any reason (tourism, studies, work or other), the following conditions must apply, on the time basis of his/her date of arrival in Greece, which will be taken into consideration:
the transfer of normal residence certificate is issued within (24) months from the arrival of the person concerned in Greece at the latest or whether the person is retired the certificate should be issued within 36 months from the date of his arrival in Greece and
the person concerned must have his/her normal residence abroad during the last two twelve-month periods, before his/her arrival in Greece.
4. Exercise of the transfer of normal residence right by foreign citizens
The transferring of the normal residence right can be exercised by persons who have a foreign citizenship and they are of Greek descent or spouses of persons with Greek citizenship or transfer their normal residence to Greece on the occasion of marriage to a Greek citizen.
If he/she is a citizen of another member-state of the European Union (EU), and provided that the requirements are met and the transfer of the normal residence certificate is issued, he/she has to produce to the competent customs authority any evidence by which it will result that he/she intends to transfer his/her normal residence to Greece and, in particular:
a residence permit, of at least annual duration or
a labour contract of indefinite duration or
a house lease contract, attested by the competent Tax Office (D.O.Y.) or
an evidence of an ownership of a house
If he/she is a citizen of a third country, and provided that the requirements are met and the transfer of the normal residence certificate is issued, he/she must produce to the competent customs authority a residence permit of at least annual duration.
5. Fictitious transfer of normal residence
Tax relief is granted to persons who have their normal residence abroad, since they transfer their normal residence to Greece, i.e. because they settle permanently in Greece, where they transfer or create personal and professional bonds.
It is, therefore, pointed out that the persons concerned must request for a issuance of a certificate and exercise the right, provided that they have actually decided to settle permanently in Greece. Otherwise, in the event of a fictitious transfer of normal residence, a customs offence takes place, which gives rise to revocation of the tax relief granted as well as implement of fines.
B. Greeks working abroad: (Persons in Chapter H, Decision of the Minister of Economy and Finance no. D.245/88 – articles 25 and 26)
The following are subject to this category:
Greek citizens whose normal residence is in Greece, that left Greece in order to work abroad, and stay as employees or not, for more than two (2) consecutive years and, after termination of their work, they return to Greece.
Greek civil servants (including diplomats), judicial employees, officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces, the Security and the Harbour Police Corps, who stay abroad for more than two (2) consecutive years, exclusively for carrying out their commissioned duties and they return to Greece, either because they been transferred or permanently, upon expiration of their service.
The two-year period is not interrupted while persons of this category stay temporarily in Greece spending the time of their leave, provided that this period does not exceed ninety days per twelve month period in order this period of time not to be considered as interruption of the two year period required, it must have been spent in between the two years and not at the end of this period.
The persons belonging to the above category may ask for a transfer the normal residence certificate at the latest within six (6) months from their arrival in Greece, for the tax-exempt receipt of their household items only.
This category is not entitled to tax relief for means of transport.
Non-subject to this category and, therefore, not entitled to transfer of normal residence certificates are the following categories:
Employees who stayed abroad on an educational leave or scholarship.
Greek citizens having their normal residence in Greece, who leave Greece in order to study abroad, even if they work during their studies.
Greeks whose normal residence is in Greece, because they are employees of legal entities based in Greece and are transferred abroad in order to work in company branches or for any other reason.
Personal belongings, as far as transfer of normal residence is concerned, are the belongings of the person entitled to the relief that are of his/her personal use or of other members of his/her family.
Specifically, personal belongings are:
1. Household items: That is to say personal objects, including a personal computer and a bicycle, domestic clothing, furniture and equipment of the house.
With regard to household items operating with electricity, tax relief is provided for one piece of each item. Tax relief is also provided for a second piece of the same item, provided that the existence of two pieces of the same item is justified, depending on the members of the family transferring its normal residence, such as a second television, (portable, up to 16 inches), a second washing-machine (small one), etc.
Concerning air conditioning units, tax relief is provided on all pieces required in particular for the spaces of the house in which the person, entitled to the relief, resides in Greece. (NO central system – air conditioning unit for buildings).
Persons transferring their normal residence in Greece from other member-states of the European Union may transfer their household items, without observing the customs formalities, upon entering Greece.
2. Means of transport:
a passenger car for private use, up to nine (9) seats, including the drivers seat (or an automotive caravan) and its trailer.
a trailer (not allowed, if an automotive caravan is also imported).
a motorbike or a motorcycle.
a pleasure boat.
a private airplane.
3. Other items:
portable instruments of mechanical or liberal arts, which are relative and essential for the practice of the beneficiary’s profession, i.e. light tools and instruments which are used as portable and their use does not depend on installation.
Personal belongings should not be, because of their type or quantity, of any commercial interest, or be intended for economic professional activity, except for portable instruments and tools that are relative and essential for practising the profession of the person entitled to the relief.
Tax relief is not provided on:
Vehicles of public use (with ten or more seats, including the driver’s, lorries for transportation of goods, any other special vehicle).
Items that are, because of their type or quantity, of any commercial interest or are intended for economic - professional activity (except for portable instruments).
Alcoholic products, tobacco and its products, except for the quantities that are given tax-free to the travellers.
1. The household items may also be new ones, provided that the beneficiary of the exception came into possession of those items in the country from which he/she transfers his normal residence, before the issuance of the transfer its normal residence certificate and are listed in detail on it.
2. A tax relief is granted, when the specific means of transport (one of each, as mentioned above), that the beneficiary had in his/her possession and used in the place of his/her previous residence for at least six (6) months before the issuance of the transfer his normal residence certificate and are listed on it, are imported.
The condition of the 6-month possession, as well as the use of the particular means of transport, must be proved by evidence.
3. The ownership of them is proved by means of the title deed of the vehicle and its licence of circulation that is in effect in each State and covers the required period of the six (6) months before the transfer of the normal residence.
The use of the vehicle for at least six (6) months is proved by the driving licence of the beneficiary or by official documents stating that the beneficiary exclusively used a professional driver during the required period of six (6) months.
It is pointed out that the six-month ownership is combined with the simultaneous use and circulation of the means of transport in the place of previous residence of the beneficiary, where the beneficiary and the means of transport should be both at the same place during this period.
Specifically as far as passenger car or automotive caravan is concerned, the condition of 6-month ownership and use may exist as a whole or cumulatively, in relation to any of the family members (spouses and single children) that transfer their normal residence together, provided that each one of them establishes a right for exemption, i.e. the members of the family must have their normal residence abroad for more than two consecutive years, according to the above regulations concerning the beneficiaries.
4. Persons that transfer their normal residence from an E.U. country, as far as vehicles is concerned, must have paid in full the taxes, concerning the circulation of their cars in the specific EU country, and not enjoy a tax relief or tax refund.
5. For the passenger cars, automotive caravans and motorcycles, tax relief is provided, as well as relief from any duties due (from third countries) and VAT.
For other personal belongings (household items, other items) a complete relief from duties and other taxes is provided. In both cases of passenger cars and personal belongings, a luxury tax, when applicable, will have to be paid.
It is pointed out that, the older the technology of a vehicle is, as far as the exhaust emissions is concerned, the higher the rates of the corresponding registration tax.
For the category of Greeks working abroad, tax relief is limited only to household items.
Tax relief is granted only once to the family (spouses and single children).
The adult single children of a family, whose normal residence is abroad, may be granted the exception independently of other members of the family, provided that they transfer their normal residence separately from their parents. The same applies whether they transfer their normal residence to Greece on the occasion of a marriage, in which case, since they create their own family, they may exercise their right to transfer their normal residence, independently from their parents.
It is emphasized that the driving licence may have been issued in the name of another member of the family (spouses and single children), than the person to whom the car belongs or is cleared, provided that they transfer their normal residence together and they both have the right to transfer their normal residence.
6. When a person transfers its normal residence from the continents of America and Africa, as well as from the states of Australia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, irrespective of him/her having a car in his/her ownership and use in the place of his/her previous residence, he/she may be granted a tax relief for a passenger car or automotive caravan bought in any country apart from Greece, even after the issuance of the certificate, on the condition that the customs clearance will take place within twelve months after the certificate has been issued and provided that the beneficiary has a driving licence (Greek or foreign one) which is valid at the time of issuance of the certificate. The passenger car is required to be brand new, of new technology (with a catalyst) as far as exhaust emissions is concerned.
In this case, the Value Added Tax (VAT) is paid in Greece as well.
The extent of tax relief amounts to 80% of the registration tax, on cars up to 2000 c.c. If the passenger car for private use or the automotive caravan that is imported has an engine capacity above 2000 cubic centimeters, the tax relief is limited to 50% of the registration tax. Luxury tax, when applicable, will have to be paid in this case too.
7. All personal belongings (household items, means of transport, other items), under the provisions mentioned above, must be cleared as a whole or even partially, before the expiry of a 12-month period which begins from the date of issuance of the certificate. That is to say, they must be presented to the Customs House for clearance, the latest within (12) months from the date of issuance of the certificate.
In particular, means of transport must be presented to the Customs House for clearance, within one month from their entry in Greece, on the condition that this period does not exceed the effective duration of the certificate (12 months from its issuance).
It is pointed out that, if the cars do not meet the last effective Community Directive, with regard to the exhaust emissions, or they are of conventional technology, the persons concerned must contact the Ministry of Transports and Communications (tel. 210-6508438) in order to ascertain the possibility of their registration.
1.The personal belongings must be intended for use by the beneficiary person and the members of his/her family, for the needs of his/her household in Greece, where he/she settles and must not be intended for third non-beneficiary persons.
2.It is not allowed that household items and means of transport, before the lapse of one year from its customs clearance (starting from the date of acceptance of the customs receipt), in any way, formal or informal to be:
be left as a pledge or commodate
conceded for use to third persons
remain, not even for custody, in areas where similar items are traded or, with regard to cars, not even in parking lots for cars which are also trading areas of cars
be driven (with regard to cars), not even once, by third persons, irrespective of the culpability of the beneficiary.
Specifically for a car, during the annual restrictive period, it is allowed to be driven, apart from the beneficiary person, by his/her spouse or single children.
If the beneficiary person is single, then it is allowed to be driven by his/her parents and single brothers or sisters.
3.In case that the beneficiary wishes to sell the household items and the means of transport before the restrictive year lapses, he/she must previously ask for customs approval and pay the charges from which a relief was granted, plus dues for overdue payment since the importation date.
After expiry of the annual restrictive period, the beneficiary person has the possibility, only if approved by the competent Customs Authority (Customs which cleared the car), to transfer the car, provided however, that a percentage of the registration tax paid, depending on the time that has lapsed from the date of acceptance of the importation custom document until its payment, as follows:
From 1 to 2 years, 50% is paid.
From 2 to 3 years, 40% is paid.
From 3 to 4 years, 30% is paid.
From 4 to 5 years, 20% is paid.
From 5 years and above, without payment.
The approval for the transfer of the car is granted upon application submitted to the competent Customs Authority, by the beneficiary.
In addition, after five years interval from the time of clearance of the vehicle, no approval of the Customs office is required for the transfer of the vehicle.
In case of death of the beneficiary before the restrictive year lapses, the one year restrictions are lifted, provided that no law violation has previously been ascertained.
In this case, the heirs do not pay anything to the Customs.
Specifically for the car, the Customs grants a appropriate certificate, by which the one year restrictions are lifted.
1. Persons who transfer their normal residence to Greece, as well as the category of Greeks working abroad, in order to be granted the tax relief, must produce to the Customs the transfer of normal residence certificate that is issued by the competent Greek consulate of their place of residence abroad.
In order that the persons concerned and the consulates to be facilitated, samples of such certificates have been drawn up, for each category.
The person concerned has to produce to the Consulate all essential supporting documents, supporting that he/she establishes a right of tax relief, either as a person having his normal residence abroad, or as a Greek working for more than two (2) consecutive years abroad and also supporting documents which show that all the other required conditions are met. Copies of the supporting documents, translated in Greek language, must be submitted by the person concerned to the competent Custom authorities.
Passports (valid as well as previous), of the beneficiary and all his/her family members must also be produced
Additionally, a statement is submitted to the Consulate which includes a declaration of the family members living with the beneficiary abroad and also the family members that transfer their normal residence in Greece.
Any certificate issued in the past in the name of the same beneficiary, or his/her spouse, or any certificate of transfer of secondary residence, must be declared. In addition to that, the beneficiary must declare the exact address of his residence in Greece.
Finally, he/she declares in the detailed list all personal belongings (baggage, means of transport, other items), which he/she will import to Greece.
2.The right of tax relief may only be exercised once, as a whole for a family.
Exceptionally, the same person may additionally exercise the right for a second time in order to receive personal belongings that he/she hadn’t received the first time, on the following conditions:
Having exercised the right for the first time, the person left the country again for various reasons and stayed abroad for at least two (2) consecutive years, after expiry of a twelve-month period since he exercised the right initially. Any temporary stay of this person in Greece during these two (2) consecutive years, is not a problem, provided that his/her stay does not exceed ninety (90) days per twelve-month period.
In order to exercise the right for a second time, one has to establish it as if it was for the first time, which means that the same conditions must be met.
Tax relief may be also granted for personal belongings that are imported before the person concerned transfers his/her normal residence to Greece, provided that he/she undertakes the obligation to actually transfer it, within a period of six (6) months since the date of acceptance or issuance of the receipt for import of the personal belongings.
Personal belongings are delivered upon deposit of a personal or bank guarantee covering the duties and other taxes due. In order to finalise tax relief and release the guarantee, the person concerned must present before the competent Customs authority, within the six-month period and submit the transfer of normal residence certificate, so that it can be ascertained whether or not he/she is a beneficiary.
If the person concerned does not actually transfer his/her normal residence to Greece, within the six-month period, the guarantee is collected, dues as of the date of acceptance or issuance of the receipt for import of personal belongings.
Personal belongings (household items, means of transport) which are situated abroad and devolve by hereditary succession (by means of a will or intestate) to a person whose normal residence is in Greece or devolve through a will to non-profit legal entities established in Greece, are exempted from duties and taxes.
With regard to passenger cars for private use, automotive caravans and motorcycles, 20% of the corresponding registration tax is paid.
Personal items must be situated abroad at the time of death of the person being inherited and the heirs must be persons settled in Greece while these items must devolve to them by means of a testament or intestate succession. As far as legal entities established in Greece are concerned, they must inherit through ones will.
The following items are excluded from Tax Relief
tobacco and products of tobacco
vehicles of public use
items of commercial interest intended for an economic (professional) activity or because of their type or quantity, with the exception of portable instruments and tools that were essential for practice of the profession of the deceased,
reserves of raw materials and processed or semi-processed products,
living animals and reserves of other agricultural products that exceed quantities corresponding to usual family needs.
Personal items which are inherited, must be imported and presented to the Customs as a whole or even partially, within two (2) years since the date on which they finally devolved to the legal heirs (final settlement of hereditary succession).
In order for the tax relief to be granted, the legal heir must produce to the competent Customs a certificate issued by the Greek Consulate or the local municipal or communal authority of the country where the inherited personal belongings of the deceased are, which certifies that the items which are imported into Greece were acquired because of hereditary succession (through a will or an intestate succession) and mentions the items being included in the heritage, as well as the legal heirs, to whom the specific personal belongings of the deceased devolve.
Personal items, which are imported in the context of hereditary succession, are not subject to the annual restriction of non-transfer, etc but they must not be of commercial interest or be used for an economic activity.
Clothing, school material and used furniture that constitute usual furnishing of a student room and belong to pupils or students whose normal residence is abroad and come to Greece exclusively in order to study, are exempted from duties and other taxes.
These items must be intended for personal use of the beneficiary during his/her studies.
A pupil or a student is the person who has been duly registered in an educational institution or school for full attendance of the courses taught in them.
Clothing is the personal and domestic wear and the clothes, used or not.
School materials are the objects and instruments (including typewriters and calculators) that pupils and students usually use for their studies.
Greek crews of commercial ships of overseas lines may only import household items and not a passenger car. The following belong to this category:
Greek citizens enlisted in a specific ship that renders services, strictly as sailors or in another capacity. The captain is included in the ship’s crew.
Sailors of Greek descent who come from the islands of Imbros - Tenedos and, in general, from Turkey, who have not acquired Greek citizenship, but are permanently settled in Greece and have duly enlisted with a Greek sailor’s booklet.
Persons who have not enlisted in a specific ship, but temporarily embark on it to render provisional services, are excluded.
Personal Belongins for which a tax relief is provided:
Personal items, including the personal computer.
Items used to furnish and equip a house, i.e. all domestic items for nowadays household needs, including air conditioning appliances, but not building items and materials.
Tax relief for household items is granted only for one (1) piece of each item of household items, per calendar year.
Household items must have been acquired by the sailor abroad with his/her own foreign currency and must be produced to the Customs, within a period of (4) months the latest since the date of the sailor’s arrival in Greece.
Household items must be intended for personal use of the sailor and the members of his/her family or for the needs of his/her household.
Prosedure - Supporting Documents:
The sailor’s status is proved by means of the sailor’s booklet if the sailor is enlisted in a commercial ship of overseas lines that bears a Greek flag.
Whether the sailor is enlisted with a passport in a commercial ship of overseas lines bearing a foreign flag, he/she must produce to the Customs a certificate issued by the captain, attested for the truth of its contents and the genuineness of its signature by a Greek consular or port authority or in case that such a certificate cannot be produced, then the sailor may produce a certificate issued by the shipping company which could be supported with other documents (enlistment licence, departure licence for enlistment, personal payroll accounts, enlistment contract, etc).
The sailor also submits to the Customs a solemn statement concerning the destination of household items and the fact that he/she has not imported another piece of a similar household item during the same calendar year.
Tax relief is granted for the V.A.T. and other taxes. Tax relief is not granted for duties (duties must be paid for items imported to Countries of the European Union from non EU countries).
Investment goods and other items of equipment (machinery, instruments, appliances, etc.) which are transferred to our country from another country, are exempted from the Value Added Tax (V.A.T.), as well as from the import duty (in case they are imported from a non EU country), provided that they are part of a business (industrial, handicraft, agricultural, etc.) which permanently ceases its activity in the country where it is based, in order to practise similar activity in our country.
The above tax relief is granted whether, in each specific case, the following three conditions concur for the transferred items:
They have actually been used in the business of which they are part of at least 12 months, since the date on which the activity of the business ceases in the country from which it is being transferred.
They are intended for the use of the same purpose after their transfer.
They correspond to the type and size of the particular business.
The import of the items in our country must take place within 12 months since the date on which the business ceases its activity in the country from which it is being transferred.
The following are excluded from the tax relief:
Means of transport which do not constitute means for the production of goods or rendering services (e.g. the passenger cars of the businessman or his/her employees).
All kinds of supplies that are intended for human consumption or for feeding animals.
Fuel and reserves of raw materials or processed or semi-processed products.
Animals in the possession of drovers.
The Customs where the import of investment goods takes place grants the above tax relief, provided that the businessman concerned submits to it the following supporting documents:
A solemn statement, in which he/she will declare that his/her business permanently ceased its activity in the country where it was established, that the imported investment goods had been used in the business for at least 12 months, etc.
A certificate issued by the commercial or other chamber of the country, where the business was established or proof of the sale of its buildings or other corresponding official evidence, by which it will be proved that the business concerned ceased its activity in the country where it was established and the time when it ceased this activity. In cases that the business which is transferred belongs to a Greek repatriate, instead of the above supporting documents, he/she may produce a relative certificate by the competent Greek consular authority.
A certificate issued by the competent Tax Office of our country, which certifies that the person concerned has declared the beginning of his/her business activity.
The above mentioned also apply proportionally to the investment goods and other items of equipment that belong to free - lance professionals, who transfer their activity from another country to our country.