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Executive Summary
The Hellenic Republic is the official name of Greece. It is located on the Balkan Peninsula in the South-Eastern part of Europe. It borders with Albania, Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey. It comprises numerous smaller islands, and covers a total area of 131,990 sq km.  Modern Greece has its roots in Ancient Greece which is considered to be a Western civilization motherland. It is a place where democracy, Western philosophy, literature, political science, mathematics and drama, as well as the Olympic Games were born.

Athens is the capital of Greece, Greek is its official language. Greece is a parliamentary republic, headed by the President, elected by the Parliament for five years. The Prime Minister is the Head of the government. The country is a member state of numerous international organizations, including the EU and NATO.

After the Second World War Greece has experienced a so called “Greek economic miracle”, in terms of which the annual GDP was growing significantly every year for more than twenty years. Its today’s economy is mainly based on services, followed by industry and agriculture. Tourism market segment employs more than 15% of the total workforce and constitutes approximately 15% of the annual GDP.

The Euro is the currency used on the territory of Greece today.

Geography
More than a half of the territory of Greece consists of mountain ranges or hilly territories. The highest point of the country – the Mount Olympus, which is also an important subject of the Greek culture, raises at 2,917 metres above the sea level. It is today a popular destination for climbers and other extreme sport practitioners. Numerous lakes are found on the territory of Greece. Large plains and forests are also located on the territory of the country.

The climate of Greece is diverse due to significant differences in the altitude of different zones within the country and is classified as Mediterranean, alpine and temperate. Greece generally has cold winters and hot summers.

Map, Flag and Coat of Arm


Types of Company

Company Limited by Shares (AE)

A company must be registered in the Commercial Registry, and its minimum capital of EUR 60,000 may be paid partially.  Such a company must at all times have a registered office within the jurisdiction. Ordinary and preference shares may be issued. A board of directors which consists at least of three directors must be responsible for the company’s management. At least two shareholders, both private persons and/or corporate entities must be present at the moment of a company’s incorporation; when incorporation procedure is completed, a company may have only one shareholder.

Limited Liability Partnership/ Company (EPE)
Minimum capital of this type of company is EUR 18,000, which must be fully paid. Such a company issues units of membership. There is a minimum requirement of one manager who must administer a company. One entity – private person or corporation may create this type of company.

General Partnership (OE)
All partners are fully and jointly liable for debts and obligations of a general partnership.

Limited Partnership (EE)
At least one general partner with unlimited liability and one limited partner with liability limited up to the capital invested may form a limited partnership.

Venture Capital Company
This type of company is a closed-ended fund, which should preferably invest in companies of “new economy”, such as IT, e-commerce, biotechnology, R&D. These companies are granted special fiscal incentives in case they have a minimum paid-up capital; their shares are freely transferable; they are listed on a Greek stock exchange; they invest in, i.e. hold shares of, private companies which are not  listed on any stock exchange.

Branch
Branches of foreign companies, registered on or before the end of 2001, enjoyed tax-free regime and other benefits till the end of 2005. This policy was included in the list of “Harmful Tax Practices”, and as a consequence, was abolished.

Offshore Shipping Branch
By submitting a number of requested documents, a foreign company may obtain a permit from the Ministry of National Economy for running a shipping business, achieving significant tax incentives.

Taxation

Personal
Income tax has a scalable nature, residents are taxed on their world-wide profits at rates starting from 5% to 40%, depending on the amount of income. Owners of real estate properties are liable to submitting annual returns, even if a property does not generate any income. Gift and inheritance taxes are levied at rates starting from 0% up to 40%.

Non-residents are taxed only on income derived from activities conducted in Greece. No withholding taxes are levied on interests paid on foreign-currency bank deposits to non-residents, however, such payments made to EU citizens are reported to countries of their origin.

Corporate
Local companies are liable to pay corporation tax. Other taxes include tax on ships, car circulation tax, capital gains tax. The standard rate of VAT is 19%. Real estate transfer tax is payable at varying rates, depending on the value of the property. Withholding tax is levied on interests paid by corporations; tax rates vary and depend on the residence and tax status of the recipient.  Royalties and several service fees are subject to withholding tax as well.

Several tax incentives are available for companies that operate in tourism, IT, agricultural exports and financial market segments.

 
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