Greece has the potential to become a premium destination, well beyond its cultural and leisure offering, if rules to attract foreign residents become competitive enough. We are not alone. Similar tax regimes across Europe aim to attract investors and professionals of high cultural and economic worth in order to increase each country’s international competitiveness.
Greece has already taken a few steps to increase its inter‑ national competitiveness as a premium destination and attract high net worth individuals (HNWIs), but we can do more by first simplifying the rules proposed and secondly opening up our plan to retirees and corporate executives willing to move their tax residence to Greece.
The absolute success of Portugal in the field (with approximately 22,000 applicants moving their residence there over the last 10 years), as well as the relevant success of Italy (it is said that approximately 550 ultra-high net worth individuals moved their residence there, however, over a much shorter period), show us the way. Furthermore, Italy is offering as of this summer a flat 7% tax on retirees’ worldwide income and a partial income tax exemption for executives, favoring their move to less developed areas of the Italian peninsula.
Greece could outperform other destinations by offering a clear and stable framework that not only imitates the best features offered in other countries but goes even further
Greece is proposing a €100,000 flat tax for foreign residents wishing to move their residence in Greece should they invest €500,000 or more in Greek assets; furthermore, it grants an inheritance/gift tax exemption for the part of their estate located abroad.
Greece could outperform other destinations by offering a clear and stable framework that not only imitates the best features offered in other countries but goes even further.
Learning from others
- The plan must be opened up to retirees and corporate executives; the opportunity is huge and the impact immediate.
- Applicants should not be required to invest in real estate property or other assets. To maintain their residency status in Greece, applicants must only have a place of abode in the country; their home, whether owned or rented, must demonstrate intent to hold habitual residence.
- The flat tax amounts for HNWIs, or the tax rates offered to retirees and to corporate executives should be lower.
- The applicants’ interaction with the authorities should be minimum (if not down to zero) and the application process should be fully automated.
As the Greek proverb goes, “In hospitality, the chief thing is good will.” And this time, Greece cannot afford to be left behind.