Located on the Southern Balkan Peninsula, Greece boasts a rugged mainland and 6,000 islands. The gorgeous country is also home to the 10th longest coastline on the planet! As a world-famous tourist destination, Greece features white-sand beaches, picturesque seaside towns, and captivating heritage sites that are a manifestation of the country’s rich history. In a nutshell, Greece has it all. It’s no surprise that the mesmerizing country attracts over 33 million visitors each year!
Unsurprisingly, foreign investors also gravitate to the tourism sector as soon as they set their eyes on Greece.
But there’s so much more to Greece from the point of view of a foreign investor; the Greek ICT sector, for example, has been growing rapidly. Over the years, the country has developed and leveraged an extensive selection of state-of-the-art technologies. The Greek ICT market is, however, mainly focused on developing telecommunications solutions and high-speed internet. The Greek Life Sciences and Pharmaceuticals sector is another popular investment opportunity!
Foreign companies that are interested in expanding to Greece can get financial aid and low-interest loans from the Greek government. There are also several grants and tax exemptions available for foreign start-ups.
These powerful benefits compel foreign investors to set up shop in the dynamic, picturesque, and lucrative country. If you’ve been considering launching your business in Greece, we’ve rounded up the ultimate guide to help you start off on the right foot!
Forms Of Companies In Greece
- E.P.E. – “Etaireía Periorisménis Efthínis / Εταιρεία Περιορισμένης Ευθύνης” – Limited Liability Company
- I.K.E. – “Idiotiki Kefalaiouchiki Etaireía / Ιδιωτική Κεφαλαιουχική Εταιρεία” – Private capital company
- A.E. – “Anónimi Etaireía / Ανώνυμη Εταιρεία” – Public Limited Company
- E.E. – “Eterórrithmi Etaireía / Ετερόρρυθμη Εταιρία” – Limited Partnership
- O.E. – “Omórrithmi Etaireía / Ομόρρυθμη Εταιρεία” – General Partnership
What is the difference between E.P.E. and I.K.E?
E.P.E. and I.K.E. are both private limited liability companies. Most entrepreneurs choose to establish an I.K.E. these days because it’s easier to establish.
The share capital for I.K.E. is 1 EUR and this contribution does not have to be paid. However, for E.P.E, it is 4,500 EUR.
I.K.E. company documents can be written in any EU language. However, Memorandum and Articles of Incorporation must be written in English or Greek.
Fundamentals Of A Limited Liability Company
Corporate Tax in Greece
VAT in Greece
Fundamentals of limited liability companies in Greece
|Limited liability company||E.P.E. and I.K.E.|
|Minimum Share capital||E.P.E. - min 4500 EUR, I.K.E. – 1 EUR|
|Registered office required||No|
|Physical office required||Yes|
|Min. number of Shareholders||1 (partners)|
|Min. number of Directors||1|
|Local Director required||No, but its recommended|
|Bank signatory must travel||In most cases, no|
|Timescale for company formation||30 days for EKE, 7 days or IKE|
|Timescale for bank account opening||7 days|
|Timescale for obtaining VAT number||7 days|
|Statutory audit requirements||No, if the business is small|
|Shelf companies available||No|
How can I register my company in Greece?
Registering an I.K.E. is straightforward; it can even be done remotely in its entirety if the investor chooses not to pay the share capital.
The first step is selecting and registering a unique company name. Availability can be checked at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
A business bank account can be opened in case of E.P.E. registration, and the minimum share capital can be deposited.
After the company name has been reserved, further steps can be taken by the Notary Public, which is a one-stop-shop for company registration. The Articles of Association must be notarized as well.
The company documents must be submitted to the secretariat of the court, upon which a registration number is acquired. A summary of the Articles of Association must be delivered to the National Printing Office (they need to be published in the Greek National Gazette).
Each company must also obtain a physical company seal for stamping documents.
At CompyCo, we strive to take care of everything remotely so you’re exempted from the hassle of undergoing countless in-person procedures. We facilitate the process by handling the complexities so you can easily register your company.
Setting up a business in Greece can feel overwhelming if you’re not equipped with the right resources and expertise.
At CompyCo, we have over 10 years of experience in helping countless small, medium, and large businesses set up in Greece. While the thought of transitioning to a foreign land may seem intimidating, we make things much easier so you can get through these complex processes with ease and peace of mind.
As the official language of Greece, Greek is spoken by 99% of the population. While many people speak English, communicating with certain locals can pose to be a challenge. This may hinder the registration, organization, and recruitment processes.
Our experts take care of everything so you can prioritize your business and leave the changeover to us! Our international network of professionals further assists with the proceedings to ensure each client receives expert assistance.
Our team comprises renowned HR professionals, lawyers, tax advisors, accountants, and corporate specialists who are trained to assist companies of all sizes that are looking to tap into the lucrative Greek markets!
Bank Account Opening
Prioritizing the process of opening a bank account in Greece is essential. Whether you’re launching your start-up or moving a U.S.-based business to Greece, ensuring your finances are in order is imperative. Our lawyers can assist you with opening an account.
In general, you should be equipped with the following documents:
- Proof of address (utility bills of electricity, water, etc.)
- Local AFM tax number
- Last tax return
- Proof of salary (salary slip or a letter from your employer)
- Tax residency certificate
As a foreigner, you may be required to have documents notarized or translated. We can assist with the proceedings. Ideally, you should opt for one of the following reputable and established banks in Greece:
- Alpha Bank
- National Bank of Greece
- Piraeus Bank
Once you’ve finalized the bank of your choice, make an appointment with the teller so you can start the process. You’ll be required to fill out documents and share additional information. In some cases, you may be required to share a reference from a previous bank. Learn more about opening a bank account here.
Accounting & Taxation
Some accounting and taxation obligations to take into consideration include:
- The tax year is the calendar year in Greece.
- Annual accounts and annual reports are to be filed yearly.
- Companies must publish financial statements that must be audited and published in the official Government journal.
- All businesses have to keep accounting books.
- The filing of the annual returns must be done between 1stof February and 30th of June.
- The corporate income tax is levied at 28%
- The current VAT rate is 24% on most goods and services. Exceptions apply. The Greek VAT number starts with the country code EL followed by 9 digits.
How can you employ staff in Greece?
Struggling to keep up with the employment requirements of Greece? We can help you out.
At CompyCo, our team of experts assiduously monitors the latest employment and labor laws so your business can employ staff accordingly. Our HR and payroll services also help familiarize fresh businesses with business costs, employment agreements, and salaries in Greece. This will help you retain control while staying informed about the policies and updates.
Hire motivated talent with a growth-oriented mindset by consulting our HR experts. We’ll tackle the intricacies so you can manage employment processes outside your jurisdiction with ease.
Have any questions? Take a look at our HR services page for more information about our International HR services!