VAT in Greece

Greece has a complicated taxation system and levies one of the highest value added taxes in Europe. For these reasons, we would like to clarify the main conditions and rates of Greek value-added tax and explain some ways in which you can significantly reduce or even avoid it completely. 

General Requirements

As a rule, you will be expected to pay VAT if you:

  • Sell goods and services online;

  • Provide residential and commercial property construction or renovation services;

  • Import commodities by sea;

  • Offer services or products related to the fashion industry.

You will be also be expected to employ a tax agent to represent you in the Tax Department if:

  1. Your legal entity is not an EU resident.

  2. You provide services and products to other legal entities or individuals for more than €10,000 or €35,000 respectively.

And remember that you and your tax agent will often be jointly accountable for your debts, penalties and other VAT-related financial obligations. 

Current Rates

The Greek IRS provides four VAT categories, depending on the nature of your goods and services:

1. Super-reduced value added tax of 6% for:

  • Printed materials, such as books, magazines, newspapers, electronic books, et cetera.

  • Medical services, including dental work and pharmaceutical products, except for the ones listed in the category below.

  • Gas and electricity supply, as well as central or localized heating.

  • Goods and services related to artistic, cultural and sports activities, such as theatre, music, dance, cinema, zoos, entertainment parks, sports matches, et cetera.

2. Reduced value added tax of 13% for:

  • Food and non-alcoholic beverages, including street vendors and food for pets.

  • Health care for the elderly, children and invalids, as well as products related to any viral or bacterial protection.

  • Tourist industry, including caravan and camping sites, and all services related thereto.

  • Works of arts and antiquities, created domestically or imported.

3. Standard value added tax of 24% for all products and services not listed in the categories above.

4. A 30% discount will be provided for the entities registered on Chios, Kos, Lesvos, Leros, and Samos.

Note: Vaccines for COVID-19 and related viral species are not subject to VAT in Greece. 

Documents Required for VAT Registration

The full list required for the purpose will depend on your specific circumstances. However, you will most likely have to submit the following documents in any case:

  • VAT number in your home country;

  • Trade registration certificate in your home country;

  • Proof of your signature;

  • All relevant documentation to confirm your intention to import or produce commodities subject to value-added tax in Greece (this one is particularly difficult to collect without the help of legal services).

Note: all documentation must be translated into Greek and certified by a notary.

Tax Reductions and Exemptions

In this section, we will describe cases in which you can have Greek taxes, including VAT, significantly reduced or even avoid them altogether. Considering the extortionate VAT rates applied in this country, the difference may be quite big, and some deductions add up to as much as 15%. 


As a general rule, you can qualify for more or less considerable reductions in the taxes you have to pay if you:

  1. Make some obligatory payments to social insurance funds.

  2. Apply for a mortgage loan to buy your first private real estate in the country.

  3. Pay back the full amount of the lease of your real estate in case it is your main residential unit in Greece.

  4. Donate amounts above specified thresholds to various community organisations, such as educational, religious and medical centres. 


On top of that, you may even be delivered of the responsibility to pay certain taxes altogether if you:

  1. Spend less than six months per year in the country, in which case you will not be considered a tax resident.

  2. Make profits from shipping any commodities across the border.

  3. Receive dividends from any financial transactions on the Athens Stock Exchange, as well as from any commercial entity registered in the country.

  4. Gain profits from the transfer of a commercial enterprise to or from the members of your family in case they reside in Greece.

In addition, profits generated from international airfare and sea transportation of passengers, both internationally and locally, tourist cruises included, are not subject to VAT. 

Special Terms for US Citizens

According to the Double Taxation Treaty signed between the USA and Greece, US citizens are not required to pay taxes in both countries. However, you need to consult your legal agent or the relevant internal revenue authorities in Greece or the USA to find out which of the two countries shall claim your taxes, as these arrangements are subject to frequent change. 

Value Added Tax Refund

In simple terms, VAT is only applied to goods and services consumed domestically. In other words, everything a foreigner buys in Greece to take with him when he leaves the country is exempt from this category of taxation, since it is considered to be an exported commodity in the strict sense of the term. Nevertheless, several qualifications will apply in this case:

  1. You can only qualify for the refund if your purchases are worth at least 120 euros in total.

  2. The goods in questions must have been purchased within three months prior to the departure date.

  3. In the case of special packaging, the goods must not be unsealed.

Note: customs officers might ask you to show them the goods for which you want to claim a VAT refund in order to confirm that you have not consumed them inside the country. 

Business VAT Refund Application Procedure

In accordance with the EU legislation, you will have to submit your application for the refund to the relevant tax authorities in your home country, and they will forward it to the Internal Revenue Service in Greece electronically within two weeks. Alternatively, your legal agents can apply for it on your behalf, but in this case, you will need to supply them with your login data for your VAT Refunds Portal profile.

Your e-application form must include the following data:

  • Your name and surname, contact information and business address;

  • VAT identification number;

  • Your legal agent's credentials, if applicable;

  • Period of time covered by the refund;

  • Your banking details;

  • Full name, business address, tax ID and reference number of the supplier;

  • Receipt with the transaction date and number;

  • VAT amount in euros.

Note: 400 euros is the minimum refund amount in case the period covered by the refund is between three and twelve months; for periods longer than one year, the minimal amount is 50 euros.

Final Word

We could only provide a very general review of value added taxation in Greece, and we strongly recommend consulting a legal agent for more specific information and professional guidance. And whichever way you decide to go about it, keep in mind that you should pay VAT three times a year, not later than the 2nd of the month. 


Are US citizens exempt from paying value added tax in Greece?

Yes, they are, in case they pay it in the States in terms of the Double Taxation Treaty (see the corresponding section above). 

How do I charge and pay VAT for the goods imported to Greece?

Basically, you should include value added tax in the total price of a commodity in question, stating it clearly on the receipt, and proceed with payment of the tax in accordance with the procedures described in the relevant sections of this article. 

How do I get a VAT refund in Greece?

You will need to submit an application form to the relevant revenue authorities in your home country (or with customs control when you depart from the country, in the case of VAT for personal purchases). 

What are the income and value added taxes in Greece?

Your income tax will range from 0 to 45%, depending on your income, and VAT will range from 4% to 24%, depending on the nature of the goods and services provided, as well as the conditions described in the relevant sections of this article. 

Where and how do I get a VAT number in Greece?

You need to send an application form to the Internal Revenue Service, together with all the necessary documents (see the corresponding section above). Keep in mind that you will most likely need professional assistance with it in order to make sure you do it right. 

How long does it take to receive a VAT refund in Greece?

The Internal Revenue Service will either approve or decline the refund within four months from the date of your application for it. Moreover, it will legally have two more months in case some additional information is expected from you. If the application is approved in the end, you will receive your money within two weeks.

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