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Guide To Moving to Greece As An Australian

Taxes, Visas, Pre-planning and Considerations To Take

Considering moving to Greece as an Australian? If so, you may have already experienced the deep connection between the two cultures.

The two countries have shared values. Besides that, Greece has breath-taking architecture, black sand beaches, and a reasonable cost of living.

We get it, and we want this for you. However, plan for your Greek tax scheme, visa, healthcare, and general expenses before heading out the door. 

Discover our guide below to prepare for your taxes, visas, and other considerations you need to keep in mind.

Moving to Greece as an Australian: Table of Contents

(click the topic of interest if you want to skip ahead)

  1. Tax Residency
  2. Taxation of Income
  3. Tax deductions
  4. Exception to the Rule: Tax Residency under the SPECIAL EXPATRIATE, or Non-Domiciled Individuals (NDI) Regime
  5. Social security contributions
  6. Double taxation
  7. Tax deadlines
  8. Visa Requirements
  9. Greek Language
  10. Finding Housing
  11. Healthcare 
  12. Cost of Living
  13. Greek Lifestyle: Culture and Customs
  14. Employment Opportunities
  15. Banking and Finance

What To Know About Taxes In Greece As An Australian

Tax residency as a Resident

Firstly, as an Australian, you are a tax resident is when you reside in Greece for 183+ days a year. Once you are a tax resident, you’ll pay taxes in Greece on your worldwide income. As a tax resident, you file a yearly tax return in Greece. You pay taxes on all your income, including the income you earn outside of Greece. You will also pay Greek social security contributions, which comes out to 20% of your income.

Secondly, you are able to reside in Greece and work remotely as an Australian. Unfortunately, the Greek government hasn’t yet published whether Digital Nomads are able to benefit from their citizenship’s tax regime. In other words, there is no specific Digital Nomad visa per se. But, legally, you can live there and work under other visa types.

Finally, Greece has tax treaties with many countries, including Australia, to prevent double taxation. So if you pay taxes on your income in both countries, you may be eligible for a tax credit. With the credit, you avoid being taxed twice.

Tax residency as an Australian Business Owner in Greece

As an Australian entrepreneur opening a company in Greece, you pay Greek tax laws and regulations. In Greece, you can set up a company either as a branch of your existing business, or as a new legal entity. Once you register your company and it’s operational in Greece, it will be subject to corporate tax on its profits. The tax rate is 24% in 2023, with a rate of 22% for profits up to €100,000.

Now, keep in mind that dividends going to shareholders will also be taxed. Additionally, as the owner of the company, you also pay personal income tax on any salary/dividends from the company.

Personal income tax rates in Greece are progressive and increase with your income (see below). Therefore, it’s important to work with a tax professional or legal advisor. They ensure you are in compliance with all the necessary tax and legal requirements. And even better– with guidance you will be sure to follow the tax regime that is most beneficial for you.

They can help you navigate the whole process of relocating to Greece as an Australian.

Taxation of income on Australians in Greece

Greece has a progressive tax system. Generally, the more you earn, the higher the tax rate (capped depending on income and job title). This does make it slightly more complicated. At the same earning level, income tax for a private employee is different from that of a pensioner. Both are different from that of a sole proprietor.

The below table shows the scale base of the taxation applicable in relation to the annual income obtained:

ANNUAL INCOME IN EUROSTAXATION RATE
0-10,000 9%
10,001-20,00022%
20,001-30,00028%
30,001-40,000 36%
40,001+ 44%
Taxation rate increases with annual income in Greece.

Additionally, there is a flat tax rate applicable of 22%. It is imposed on the net income a company receives, following the deductions of your business expenses. Following, there are also taxes on dividends of 5% or more, interest income, and rental income. This fluctuates from 15% to 45%, calculated on a scale basis.

  • Although you might not want to be considered as tax resident in Greece, you might be. A new taxation scheme is now active, the special expatriate regime. Employees, members of the BoD/legal representatives of companies, sole proprietors, investors and retirees under this regime pay up to 50% of income tax depending on the income level.

Tax deductions Moving to Greece as an Australian

It’s not all bad news. There are several tax deductions available to you in Greece in relation to your personal income, such as:

  • deductions for medical expenses
  • charitable donations
  • tuition fees

Additionally, expenses related to business activity can be applied to your corporate taxes. For example, within the company’s activity there are operational expenses you could generate like utility bills, rentals, leasings, and the cost of equipment.

All these expenses are deductible from the turnover your company has at the end of the financial year. Therefore, before the implementation of corporate tax, the aforementioned amounts must be deducted in order for the company to be taxed on the net income it generates.

Exception to the Rule: Tax Residency under the SPECIAL EXPATRIATE, or Non-Domiciled Individuals (NDI) Regime

Greece has a special tax regime for high-earning qualifying expatriates, designed to attract high-skilled workers and investors to the country. It is known as the Non-Domiciled Individuals (NDI) Regime.

Under the NDI regime, you can choose to pay a flat tax of €100,000 per year on your foreign-sourced income and capital gains, instead of the regular Greek income tax. This option is available for a period of 15 years.

Apart from this flat tax rate, you must first qualify. 

To qualify requires:

+ A minimum investment of €500,000 in Greece, either in real estate or in shares of a Greek company. 

+ You must make this investment within three years of becoming a tax resident in Greece. 

+ Other requirements and conditions, such as not having been a tax resident in Greece for at least seven of the previous eight years.

In addition to the flat tax rate on foreign-sourced income, individuals in the NDI regime are exempt from Greek tax on any income earned from employment outside of Greece. However, income earned in Greece is subject to the standard Greek income tax rates. 

Wondering whether the NDI regime would charge you less than the Australian tax system? Tax rates It depends on your income level and the amount of foreign-source income and capital gains you have. It’s important to consult with a tax professional to determine the best tax strategy based on your situation.

Social security contributions Moving to Greece as an Australian

In Greece, employees and employers are required to pay social security contributions to the National Insurance Organization, which uses the Greek acronym EFKA. The employee’s contribution is typically 13.87% of their gross salary, while the employer’s contribution is 22.29% of the employee’s gross salary. 

Although it is good to be aware of the social insurance contribution scheme applicable, Digital Nomads working for a company outside of Greece do not have to register with the National Insurance Organization for the time being. As long as you have private insurance, you meet the minimum requirements according to the law.

In Greece, social security contributions are mandatory for employees and self-employed individuals. If you are thinking of relocating to Greece as a digital nomad, and are working as a self-employed individual in Greece, you may be required to make social security contributions.

Luckily, Australia has social security agreements with many countries, including Greece, which keep you from having to pay social security contributions in both countries. The social security agreement between Australia and Greece provides for the coordination of social security systems to help ensure that people who have worked in both countries can still access their social security benefits.

Under the agreement, Australian residents who work in Greece as self-employed individuals may be able to remain covered by the Australian social security system and be exempt from making social security contributions in Greece. However, this depends on various factors such as the length of stay in Greece and the type of work you will be doing there.

Double taxation

If you are a tax resident in Greece and have income from another country, you may be able to benefit from a double taxation treaty. A double taxation treaty is a mutual agreement signed between two countries to avoid having both taxed their citizens/residents.

Australia and Greece have a tax treaty that prevents double taxation of income on individuals and businesses. Under the treaty, individuals and businesses that are resident in one country but earn income in the other country are generally only subject to tax on that income in their country of residence. This helps to avoid the situation where the same income is taxed twice, once in each country.

The treaty covers a range of types of income, including income from employment, business profits, dividends, interest, and royalties. It also includes provisions to prevent tax evasion and for the cooperation between the tax authorities of the two countries.

For individuals, the treaty includes provisions to address potential double taxation of Social Security benefits, pensions, and other types of income. The treaty also provides for certain deductions and credits to be allowed in both countries to help reduce the overall tax burden.

All European countries are also subject to a common policy in order to avoid double taxation. In case a double treaty is implemented, the country of citizenship cannot tax the personal income gained that has already been taxed from another country. In order to avoid any complications on the implementation of such treaties, each applicant has the duty to inform the relevant tax authorities, in order to be exempt from further taxation, and provide evidence that they have already paid their taxes. 

Tax deadlines

In Greece, the tax year runs from January 1st to December 31st. You must file income tax returns electronically yourself, or an authorized accountant can do it for you by June 30th of the following year. You can also choose to pay the tax in installments that could be different each year.

In case someone won’t be able to fill in the annual income return by the end of the deadline, there are applicable fines that amount from EUR 100 up to EUR 500. Furthermore, if someone misses the deadline of the final date of the installment, an interest rate of 0.73% is applicable to each installment.

If you’ve read this far, you might be ready to take actionable steps toward living in Greece. While the process may seem overwhelming, remember that there is no need for you to do it alone. In fact, it is always advisable to consult a tax professional for personalized advice on your specific tax situation in Greece. 

Visa Requirements

Moving to Greece as an Australian citizen, you are allowed to enter Greece for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa for tourism or business purposes. However, if you plan to stay in Greece for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a long-term visa or a residence permit.

To get a long-term visa, you can apply at the Greek embassy or consulate in Australia before you travel to Greece. There are several types of long-term visas available, depending on the purpose of your stay, such as study, work, or family reunification.

For example, if you plan to work in Greece, you will need to apply for a work visa, which requires a job offer from a Greek employer and a work permit issued by the Greek Ministry of Labor. More on what you need to study in Greece.

To obtain a residence permit, you will need to apply at a Greek immigration office once you arrive in Greece. The type of residence permit you apply for will depend on the purpose of your stay and whether you are a European Union citizen or a non-EU citizen.

For example, if you are a non-EU citizen and plan to work in Greece, you will need to apply for a work permit and a residence permit for employment purposes. If you are an EU citizen and plan to live in Greece, you will need to apply for a registration certificate to confirm your right to reside in Greece.

Overall, the visa and residence permit requirements for Australians moving to Greece depends on the purpose of your stay and completing your paperwork correctly within the right time periods. Consult with our multilingual immigration lawyers to determine the specific requirements for your situation.

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Speaking The Language… Do I really need to learn Greek?

According to a survey conducted by the European Commission in 2020, about 51% of the Greek population speaks English to some degree. While this sounds pretty good to most English speakers,, the level of English proficiency depends greatly on the age and education level of the individual. 

Younger generations and those with higher education are more likely to speak English fluently, while older generations and those with less formal education may have limited English skills.

In terms of situations where Australians may need to know Greek in Greece, it largely depends on the purpose and length of your stay in the country. For short-term visits or tourist activities, you can get by with basic English with a few Greek phrases thrown in to show you care and understand.

However, for long-term residence or if you plan to conduct business in Greece, it’s important to study and practice the Greek language. Knowing Greek is especially helpful if you need to interact with locals or navigate bureaucratic processes, as many official documents and government forms are in Greek.

Of course, the more Greek you know, the easier it will be to build relationships and to understand Greece’s rich culture. 

Find housing in Greece- Where to move?

How to choose when each is more beautiful than the last? You are sure to love every area of Greece when moving to Greece as an Australian. But if you prefer to live close to other Australians, you may want to start seeking housing in one of the following locations.

Athens

Athens is the capital city of Greece and the largest urban area in the country. It offers a vibrant cultural scene, a diverse range of neighborhoods, and easy access to transportation hubs. Many Australians are attracted to Athens for its history, culture, and vibrant nightlife.

Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece and is known for its lively atmosphere, student population, and rich cultural heritage. It’s located in the north of the country, close to popular destinations like Halkidiki and Mount Olympus.

The Cyclades Islands

The Cyclades are a group of islands in the Aegean Sea that are known for their whitewashed villages, blue-domed churches, and crystal-clear waters. Islands like Mykonos, Santorini, and Paros are popular with expats due to their picturesque landscapes, vibrant nightlife, and international communities.

Finding a place to live is an important part of the moving process. Research the different neighborhoods in the cities you’re considering, and consider factors such as proximity to public transportation, safety, and amenities. You may also want to consider working with a local  real estate professional to help you find the perfect place.

The Greek Healthcare System

Greece has a public healthcare system, but you may want to consider purchasing private health insurance to ensure that you have access to the best medical care available.

Pluses of the Healthcare System moving to Greece as an Australian:

  • Universal Healthcare: Everyone has access to basic healthcare in Greece, no matter who you are, nor your financial situation. 
  • Affordable healthcare: The cost of private healthcare in Greece is generally much lower than in Australia, which Aussies generally consider to be a major advantage (although some specialized services can be more expensive). 

It’s also worth noting that private healthcare in Greece doesn’t always have the same level of coverage and services as private healthcare in Australia. While Greece has a high-quality healthcare system, private healthcare generally are less regulated and may not always meet the same standards as public healthcare. 

  • Quality of care: Greek healthcare professionals are generally well-trained and provide high-quality care, particularly in areas such as primary care and preventive medicine.
  • Availability of healthcare: There are many healthcare facilities in Greece, and in most cases, you can access care relatively easily.

Negatives of the healthcare system moving to Greece as an Australian:

  • Language barrier: For Australians who do not speak Greek fluently, navigating the healthcare system can be challenging. While many healthcare professionals do speak English, this is not always the case.
  • Long wait times: In some cases, Australian expats complain of long wait times for appointments or procedures, especially in public hospitals.
  • Lack of specialized care: While the quality of primary care is generally good, some expats find it difficult to access specialized care in certain areas due to staffing shortages.
  • Bureaucratic obstacles: Some Australians have reported difficulty obtaining medical records

Cost of living in Greece for Australians

Greece has a relatively low cost of living compared to other European countries. Notwithstanding, it’s still a good idea to understand the cost of living in the specific town or city that you’re considering. 

All in all, you’ll find the cost of living in Greece is lower than in Australia. These affordable prices extend specifically to housing, food, and entertainment. The average cost of a meal in a restaurant is significantly lower in Greece than in Australia, and housing costs are generally lower as well. 

However, other expenses such as transportation and utilities may be more expensive in Greece. That said, factors such as rent, food, transportation, and entertainment all differ from city to town to island.

Australians in Greece- Culture and customs

Already thinking about moving to Greece as an Australian? Chances are that you already know and appreciate Greek culture. However, if you are just starting to think about visiting Greece, the country has a lot of wholly unique culture that Aussies appreciate.

As you may know, Greeks were some of the earliest European settlers in Australia, in the 19th century. Thus, many Aussies feel as though they’ve arrived in their ancestral homeland when they step onto Australian soil.

Since Greek cuisine is already so popular in Australia, there isn’t too much mystery in the real thing. Generally, Australians appreciate the freshness of the veg and flavors of Greek food. Eating the real thing tastes better than home.

Finally, Australians and Greeks share many common values, such as an appreciation for democracy, freedom, and individualism. These shared values make it easier to build cultural and social ties with the locals once you relocate.

Employment opportunities in Greece

If you’re planning to work in Greece, research the job market. Consider whether your skills and experience are in demand, and if not, work on skill building. You may also want to consider networking with other expats. A good way to do this is to join local professional associations to help you find job opportunities. 

Of course, the economic situation in Greece has been challenging in recent years. Keep in mind that salaries and job opportunities in Greece may be lower than in Australia. 

Banking and finances in Greece

Before you move to Greece as an Australian, research the country’s banking system. Open a bank account there if possible to help you manage your finances. After all, you will probably want to transfer money to a Greek bank account at some point. This will also make it easier to pay bills and make purchases in your day-to-day life.

Overall High Quality of Life in Greece

What one person considers a high quality of life may differ from another person’s perspective. Despite this fact, most Australians perceive the quality of life in Greece to be high, despite its economic difficulties.

Greece offers a high quality of life. It has a strong sense of community, excellent healthcare, and a relatively low crime rate. Greeks are known for their hospitality and friendliness, making it easy for Australians to feel right at home.

If you are ready to take steps toward relocating to Greece as an Australian, you aren’t alone. Reach out to us through the form below. Our multilingual legal eagles will reach out to guide you with all the information and paperwork.

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