Mass Exit of Greek Businesses and Professionals Seeking Tax-Friendly Countries

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
Last Update: 14:18

The tax office of Greeks living and working abroad is receiving thousands of applications from businesses and professionals who try to flee Greece after the implementation of the new, heavy taxes and security contributions.

Other than relocating abroad, businessmen and freelance professionals are trying to find ways to avoid the new taxes like changing the status of their businesses, creating limited companies, even resorting to transactions under the table and any other way possible to avoid the tax avalanche that went into effect on January 1.

Others choose to close their business or stop practicing their profession as in most cases over 60% of their earnings go to taxes and security contributions.

According to a Kathimerini newspaper report, consulting firms in Athens and Thessaloniki flourish as thousands of entrepreneurs and professionals consult them on ways to relocate abroad, find ways to alleviate the heavy tax burden, or manage their capital. The consulting firms are composed of lawyers, former business executives, former bank employees with private banking expertise and other professionals.

Many Greek businesses and professionals are choosing Cyprus, Malta, Luxemburg and Ireland to relocate their business activities and declare their assets there, as the above countries are have lower taxation.

According to the Kathimerini report, Greek tax authorities are trying to put hurdles on applicants beyond the typical red tape, and in some cases are even going against European Union laws.

Greeks who live abroad more than 183 days each year pay taxes only on their earnings in Greece, not for their income abroad. However, they must have declared the country they live in as their country of residence and have a tax representative in Greece.

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