Establishment of Foreign Commercial & Industrial Companies
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1. Establishment in Greece of Foreign Commercial and Industrial Companies under law 89/67 (as initially applied, the current legal framework under law 3427/05 is described in par 3)
Foreign Commercial and Industrial Companies of any type or form legally operating in the country of their registration and dealing exclusively with commercial business whose object lies outside Greece, may be established in Greece following special permit granted by the Minister of Coordination. An application is submitted to the Private Investment Division and should mention:
- The company’s Nationality;
- The form under which the Company is operating in the country of its registration;
- The form under which it will operate in Greece (branch office,agency,or office of the parent company)
- The Company’s object;
- The name of the person who will be in charge in Greece;
- Deposit of a bank guarantee from a Greek or a foreign bank of acknowledged standing which will be forfeited in favor of the Greek State in case of breach of the provisions of Law 89/67 by the company’s personnel.
The application has to be submitted and signed by a Greek Attorney at Law.In case that the person in charge of the Company’s office in Greece is not a Greek National, a Greek Attorney at Law should be appointed as such in order to receive all official correspondence. Foreign and Industrial Companies which have obtained an establishment permit shall, without any formality , be entitled to the following facilities concerning residence permits, custom duties, taxation and other matters, provided they are exclusively engaged in commercial activities whose objects lie outside Greece:
- Permission of employment and residence in Greece for the foreign personnel (the permits are without any formality issued for the period of two years and are renewable for the same period upon declaration from the Company that the persons in question are still employees of the company’s branch);
- Tax clearance certificates valid for one year , may be issued to the aforesaid personnel;
- Total exemption of the Company from:
a. custom duties
b. import taxes
c. stamp duties
e. turnover tax
f. luxury tax and
g. any other taxes , duties or charges in favour of the State;
- Total exemption from taxes , duties , or charges for any article necessary for equipping their office in Greece;
- Exemption from income tax , as well as other tax , charge or contibution in favor of the State or any other third party for all persons of foreign nationality employed by the company, provided they hold a duly issued valid permit for employment and residence in Greece ;
- Import and keep free of duty a car for the foreign personnel (every alien employee has the right to one duty free car,which will be provided with standard Greek plates);
- Import free of duty of the household equipment for the foreign personnel;
- Import and export without any formality of samples and advertising material of no commercial value.
The branches or offices shall enjoy the above mentionned facilities and immunities, provided that they cover , by importing foreign exchange not necessarily assignable,their operation expences in Greece by the equivelant of at least $USD 50,000 and that all payments made in Greece should be made on their account or on the account of their parties.
2. Headquarters Establishment in Greece (Law 89/67)
Establishment in Greece of foreign commercial and industrial companies according to LAW 89/67 as amended by Law 3427/05 and in force today. Foreign companies may be established in Greece according to the provisions of Law 3427/05, aiming exclusively at the provision of the following services to their head-offices or affiliates abroad (within the meaning of Article 42e of Law 2190/1920):
- Consulting services
- Centralised accounting services
- Quality control of production, products, procedures and services
- Preparation of studies, designs and contracts
- Advertising and marketing services
- Data processing services
- Receipt and supply of Information and Research & Development services.
Established companies under this regime, are obliged a) to employ a staff of at least 4 employees in Greece and b) to have at least 100,000 Euro per year operating expenses in Greece. Tax incentives for companies established under this regime: The gross income from services provided (only collected by bank remittances) is calculated according to the cost-plus method.2 Profit margins (amounting to not less than 5%) are set separately for each company, in application of competent regulatory authority criteria (Committee of Ministry of Economy), mainly consisting in the nature of services provided, the area of business activity and the OECD Guidelines on intragroup charges. The taxable income of the company is determined after all expenses on considered profit margin are deducted from the gross income, on the condition that they are supported by fiscal documents in compliance with the provisions of the Accounting Books and Records Code.