VAT registrations and simplifications in Greece

When do I need a Greek VAT number? 

Generally, a foreign business must register for VAT (Value Added Tax) in Greece as soon as a taxable supply is made. The following are the usual examples of taxable transactions:

  • Domestic supply of goods not reverse charged: A supply of goods located in Greece where the reverse charge does not apply requires a VAT registration of the supplier.
  • Supply of services not reverse charged: Foreign non-established businesses supplying services on which Greek VAT is due by the supplier must register for VAT. These services are rather exceptional, as the general B2B rule would apply.
  • Imports of goods in Greece: when a non-established trader imports goods under his or her own name, a VAT registration is required in the country.
  • Export: Exporting goods to a non-EU country requires a VAT number before the export is made.
  • Intra-Community acquisition: Acquiring goods from another Member State where all conditions for intra-Community movements are met requires the customer to register for VAT.
  • Intra-Community supply: Supplying goods another Member State is also a taxable transaction that obliges the supplier to register for VAT. 
  • Distance sales: When applicable in case the Seller has not joined OSS. See the E-commerce manual for more information.

Non-established companies must submit apply for VAT registration before performing any of the above taxable transactions. There is no turnover threshold applicable to non-established companies.

Similarly, there is no exemption threshold for Greek established companies.

Input VAT connected with the business activity and incurred prior to the VAT registration date can be deducted under certain circumstances (see ΠΟΛ.1155/2018).

Backdated registrations are allowed in Greece. You will need to regularize past reporting periods as from the registration date.

Check here, here and here the official information about VAT registration in Greece.

Also, you can download here an official guide with useful information for the granting of VAT registration number and the submission of VAT returns by foreign companies in Greece.

Fiscal representative requirements in Greece

Some countries require all non-EU companies to appoint a fiscal representative when registering for VAT. This is the case in Greece.

Non-EU based businesses registering for VAT in the country must appoint a tax representative who will act on its behalf. The fiscal representative takes on the responsibility for the submission of the correspondent returns and the payment of the VAT due and being jointly and severally liable.

The appointment of the fiscal representative is completed by submitting a copy of the relevant power of attorney to the competent Head of the Tax Office who is in charge of the taxation of the fiscal representative’s income. The copy must be certified by the Greek Consular Service of the country of establishment, or by certified with the Hague Apostille.

Separately, non-established businesses based in a Member State may also appoint a fiscal representative in Greece. Such fiscal representative is not under the obligation to maintain accounting books and issue fiscal documents in respect of the transactions effected by his principal.

Have a look here at the section How can an undertaking established in a third country (outside the EU) register only in Greece for VAT purposes?

This obligation is regulated in Art. 36.4.d) and e) and Art. 35.1.c) of the Greek VAT Law.

VAT groups in Greece

VAT grouping is not possible in Greece.

Consignment and Call-off stock in Greece

The EU introduced a call-off stock simplification that all EU Member States must implement. This was put into place so that businesses that operate under a consignment stock structure do not have to VAT register in the country of destination. Greece has introduced the call-off stock simplification.

Check out our article on the EU call-off stock simplified VAT rules for more detailed information. 

Greek Bad Debt Relief

Bad debt refers to an unpaid invoice for which the Supplier has paid the VAT to the tax administration: this is, an invoice has been issued with VAT, reported in the VAT return and the VAT amount has been paid to the tax authorities but the whole price has not been collected from the customer. This is often due to the client´s bankruptcy, insolvency or simple missed payments to suppliers. In these cases, most countries allow to recover the VAT initially paid to the authorities, however, the conditions change from one country to another.

Bad debt relief refers to the possibility of recovering the VAT from that invoice. Greece does not allow for bad debt relief.

Greek Import Deferral and Postponed VAT Accounting

Greece has introduced a postponed import VAT accounting mechanism where import VAT can be reported as input and output VAT (reverse charged) in the VAT return instead of being paid to the authorities upon importation. Postponed import VAT accounting in Greece is available for foreign businesses with a Greek VAT number, subject to certain conditions and appliable in limited scenarios, and upon request.

This regime allows the importer to account for the import VAT in the periodic VAT return. In order to benefit from this regime, the foreign taxable person intending to act as the importer of records in Greece must apply in advance to the Greek Ministry of Finance to obtain a State licence. The conditions to apply the postponement of import VAT to the VAT returns are the following:

  • The goods imported are not subject to excise duties.
  • The taxpayer does not have a fixed establishment in Greece.
  • The value of the goods imported exceeds EUR 100 million for the first five years, and EUR 250 million after the fifth year.
  • Most of the imported goods are used to perform subsequent intra-Community supplies or exports – more than 90%-.

In case the importer is not VAT registered in the country, then import VAT will be collected by Customs.

Have a look at our general article about postponed import VAT accounting.

Greek Customs and VAT warehouses

Customs or bonded warehouses are available for goods that have not cleared customs in the EU (T1). VAT and excise duties are not due when these goods are directly placed in the Customs warehouse. As soon as they exit this regime, these amounts are due. Sales within the customs warehouse are zero-rated.

VAT warehouses are available for cleared goods (T2). These goods have already paid customs duties. The conditions are similar to those of Customs warehouses. The goods allowed are those included in Appendix V of the VAT Directive.

Greece has introduced both customs and VAT warehousing regimes.

Read more about Customs warehouses in Greece (POL. 1184/2018). Finally, find here official EU guidelines on Customs’ special regimes.

Special VAT Schemes in Greece

Businesses may benefit from the following special VAT regimes:

  1. Small businesses: this is a VAT exemption scheme that applies to established companies with a turnover (exclusive of VAT) not exceeding EUR 10,000 in the previous calendar year. The businesses under small business scheme do not need to charge VAT on their supplies or file VAT returns. These businesses are not entitled to input VAT deduction. 
  2. Farmers.
  3. Travel agents.
  4. Margin scheme.
  5. Investment gold.

Have a look at our website articles about TOMS and the Cash accounting scheme.

We use cookies to offer an improved online experience. More information