The article is written by Ariel Manika, Lawyer/Senior Manager, TAX, KPMG
KPMG in Greece is pleased to provide legal and tax assistance to non EU investors in receiving Greek residence permit through the Greek Golden Visa Program. Our services include purchase negotiations, submission of residence permit application and follow up until issuance, bank account opening, issuance of Greek tax registration number, real estate registry checks, drafting and signing of notarial deed for the real estate purchase, annual tax filings. Whatever the need, KPMG‘s experts are there to assist.
Golden Visa Program
The Greek Golden Visa program is an attractive option for those seeking investment opportunities and/or residence in the European Union especially given the ideal geographical position of Greece. According to the program, a five year residency permit is granted to non EU citizens who are investing in real estate in Greece. Purchased property can be located anywhere in the Greek mainland or the islands, can be either residential or commercial, in the form of one single or multiple properties, or even shares in real estate holding companies as long as the purchase price exceeds EUR 250,000.
The success of the program, while modest in the first couple of years from its introduction, has increased significantly in recent years bringing to the country funds of more than EUR 1 billion.
Approximately 2,300 residence permits have been issued since the commencement of the program until the end of 2017 for real estate owners (a total of approximately 5,700 when counting also family members). Almost half of these permits have been granted to Chinese nationals with Russians holding second place and Turkish nationals rising up recently to third place (obviously because of political turmoil in our neighboring country). Other countries whose nationals have received residence permits include Egypt, Lebanon, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc.
Analyzing the particulars of the program
The residence permit granted through this program allows the applicant and his family members to live in Greece but not to work. However there is always an option for the applicant and family members to establish businesses in Greece, open bank accounts and expand investments worldwide. The Greek residence permit allows freedom of travel to the applicant and his family members throughout the EU Schengen zone without further visa applications. If the resident sells the property to another non-EU citizen, the Greek residency is revoked for him and his family members and transferred to the new investor on condition the new investor meets all other terms of the program.
How is the investor taxed for his Golden Visa investment in Greece?
Is the Greek citizenship “sold” to rich foreigners?
Other investment opportunities under the Golden Visa program
Indeed there seems to be movement in the local real estate market especially for properties located in the so called “historic center” of Athens opening up a new booming market which, according to what real estate agents say, is linked to the Airbnb business. Now the real question is whether the income of the State from taxes arising from the rental of these Golden Visa investments will be equally thriving since rumor is that most real estate owners “forget” to declare Airbnb rentals of their properties in the tax notification electronic system “TAXIS”.
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