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).
- papers concerning transactions (electricity, telephone bills, etc.).
- 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 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.
- 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.
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.