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Starting a Business in Greece

Comprehensive Guide to Company Registration in Greece

Greece has been a popular destination for business planning for company incorporation in Greece for centuries, owing to its rich culture, picturesque landscapes, and pleasant climate. It’s also an excellent location to launch a business, offering a wealth of resources, a thriving economy, and a supportive business environment.

Whether you’re a resident or a foreign investor, setting up a company in Greece can be an incredibly satisfying and exhilarating experience. This blog provides valuable guidance and suggestions to ensure you begin on the right path. It delves into the legal and regulatory framework, market opportunities, funding options, and other essential factors entrepreneurs should consider before setting up a company in Greece.

In summary, the blog serves as a comprehensive guide for individuals interested in company incorporation in Greece, offering valuable insights, suggestions, and practical advice to help them make informed decisions and navigate the complex landscape of entrepreneurship in Greece.

Business Opportunities in Greece

Greece offers a unique blend of economic, cultural, and geographic advantages, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs hoping to start a business in Greece. The country has a strategic location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, which provides access to a large market and facilitates trade. 

The Greek government has implemented various policies as a part of grants for starting a business in Greece to encourage entrepreneurship and foreign investment for entrepreneurs wishing to start a business in Greece. Businesses can leverage various tax incentives and benefit from streamlined bureaucracy, with access to easy funding.  The rich Greek heritage and natural beauty make it a popular tourist destination, offering ample opportunities for business ventures who are planning to set up an offshore company in Greece in the hospitality and tourism industry.

The top prospective sectors in Greece encompass a diverse range of industries. Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) is a significant sector with high growth potential. The healthcare sector also presents opportunities for investment and development, given Greece’s demand for medical services. 

The Defense and Firefighting sector is another promising area due to Greece’s strategic location and geopolitical position. Due to its rich natural resources, Greece has great potential in the Energy and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) sector. 

The infrastructure sector in Greece shows excellent promise for investment and development, with opportunities for public-private partnerships and foreign investment. Overall, these sectors provide ample opportunities for companies seeking to start a business in Greece.

Entrepreneurs looking to extend their businesses worldwide can capitalize on Greece’s expanding economy and initiate their operations there. One can consult the subsequent manual to comprehend the conditions for setting up a business in Greece.

Benefits of Starting a Business in Greece

Starting a business in Greece offers numerous benefits to entrepreneurs seeking to expand their operations internationally. These benefits outweigh the risks of doing business in Greece. Here are some significant advantages of doing business in Greece for you to consider: 

  • Greece has high-quality logistics and communication infrastructure, which provides an efficient and reliable means of transporting goods and services. This infrastructure allows businesses to operate more efficiently, thus reducing the time and cost of doing business. 
  • Additionally, Greece boasts of a highly educated, skilled, and talented workforce, making it an attractive destination for businesses looking for qualified professionals to work on their projects. This highly skilled workforce can help companies to achieve their objectives by providing high-quality products and services.
  • Greece has a strong entrepreneurial tradition with a culture that values innovation and creativity. This makes it an ideal location for startups and small businesses wanting to start a business in Greece and seeking to take advantage of this culture to develop new and innovative products and services. 
  • The cost of labor in Greece is relatively affordable compared to other countries in the European Union. This is one of the significant advantages of doing business in Greece for entrepreneurs who intend to start a business in Greece. Therefore, companies of every size paved the way to do business in Greece with minimal hiccups.
  • Manufacturing companies can benefit from an exemption from import duties on their products when importing into Greece. This can provide a significant cost advantage and make it more attractive for businesses wishing to start a business in Greece to export their products to Greece. 

Requirements for Starting a Business in Greece

Following the proper procedures is essential to successfully start a business in Greece. These are the prerequisites for conducting business in Greece:

Tax Identification Number (TIN)

  • A company needs to acquire a valid Greek Tax Identification Number (TIN) and utilize the TAXIS system credentials to start a business in Greece.
  • These credentials are used as the electronic signature of the holder. 

Company name availability

  • To register a company in Greece, one must first decide on a name for the firm.  
  • Once a name has been decided upon, the business owner must check for its availability with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Minimum capital requirement

  • A private corporation can be formed with just one euro in share capital. 
  • A partnership firm may be formed with as little as EUR 1000 in share capital.

Registered office address

  • To form a company in Greece, one must have a registered office address. All the notices and relevant information will be sent to that address. 

Directors and shareholders

  • A company must have at minimum one director and shareholder to start a business in Greece. 

Types of Business Structures in Greece

When setting up a business in Greece, a business owner can choose any of the following business structures:

Limited Liability Company (EPE):

  • The EPE can be established by one or more individuals who are regular or legal as long as they meet the minimum base capital requirement of €4,500. 
  • This type of company can engage in almost any business except banking and insurance. The partners’ liability is limited to their respective investments in the company. 
  • The company must have one or more directors accountable to the organization. 
  • Directors are responsible for paying company taxes and insurance contributions to the Greek state and the Greek private worker’s fund. 
  • The company is subject to a Greek corporate income tax rate of 22%, and partners’ distributed profits are subject to a withholding tax of 25%. 
  • A foreign parent company located in another EU country may be exempted from withholding taxes under the “parent-subsidiary directive.”

Societe Anonyme (AE):

  • This type of company can be formed in Greece by at least one natural or legal person, with a minimum base capital requirement of €60,000. 
  • An AE can engage in any business and offers anonymity for investors if the partners hold anonymous shares. 
  • The incorporation process can be completed in 5-6 working days through a one-stop-shop service, such as a Greek notary public. 
  • Shareholders have the highest authority in the company and can make decisions on any matter. 
  • The company’s administrative body is the board of directors, consisting of at least three individuals. In most cases, the board of directors appoints a managing director who may be given some or all of the board’s powers. 
  • This type of company is particularly effective when investors may have conflicting interests. 
  • The company is subject to a Greek corporate income tax rate of 22%, and profits distributed to shareholders are subject to a withholding tax of 25%.

Branch office: 

  • In addition to the company types mentioned earlier, a branch office is also a way to start a business in Greece. 
  • To set up a branch office, the foreign company trying for company incorporation in Greece must file an application for approval with the competent surveillance authority in Greece. 
  • The foreign company must provide a certificate stating the amount of its share capital abroad. The share capital must be equal to or more than the minimum share capital required for the equivalent Greek company type. 
  • The branch office is subject to a Greek corporate income tax rate of 22%, and profits remitted to the branch’s head office abroad are subject to a withholding tax of 25%. 
  • The “parent-subsidiary directive” does not apply to branches.

General partnership: 

  • A general partnership in Greece consists of at least two partners whose liability is unlimited. 
  • There are no requirements for minimum capital.
  • If specified in the agreement, the partners can decide who will manage the company and agree on how losses will be covered and profits will be shared.

Limited partnership: 

  • A limited partnership in Greece is created by a few partners, and there is no minimum capital requirement. 
  • At least one partner is the limited partner whose liability depends on their contribution and who has no management responsibility. 
  • Another partner must be the general partner responsible for managing the company.

Company Registration Process

Choosing the legal structure for the firm is the first step in the company registration process in Greece. For businesses wondering how to set up a business in Greece, the procedures for offshore company registration in Greece are as follows:

Step 1: Business name registration in Greece

  • To initiate the company registration process in Greece, one must first decide on a name for the firm. 
  • Once you’ve determined whether the name is available, you can check its availability and legitimacy by contacting the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Thus, kickstarting the offshore company registration in Greece.

Step 2: Request for Tax Identification Number (TIN) (for the founders)

  • If the main shareholder is a non-resident, a local must be employed as the tax representative to secure the TIN. The tax office issues a TIN to businesses in Greece.

Step 3: Register office address

  • It is essential to have a physical office in Greece where all communication and notices are sent to register a corporation. The Greek Companies Registry completes the formalities related to the registered office address in Greece. 

Step 4: Create the company’s statutes

  • The National Printing Office must provide a summary of the AOA before it can be printed in the Greek National Gazette. 
  • To obtain the business’s articles of association, one must collaborate with a qualified tax accountant.

Step 5: File a General Commercial Registry registration form for the new company (GEMI)

  • The next stage is company registration in Greece with the General Commercial Registry (GEMI) after all the necessary documents have been completed, including the business’s statutes. 
  • Following the acquisition of all required documents, it will take approximately 1 to 5 working days.

Step 6: Join the EFKA (National Insurance Corporation)

  • The other IKE members may choose not to register with EFKA (National Insurance Organization). However,  the director of IKE is required by law to do so. EFKA offers individuals who have ceased working, whether through termination or other reasons, the choice to cover their pensionable service through either optional insurance or self-insurance procedures.
  • Directors must be Greek citizens or members of the EU with active work visas.

Step 7: Design a seal for your company

  • The tax registration number and the office of taxation’s address must be included on the company seal. Also, it is a requirement of corporate practices to develop a company seal.

The next phase involves registering a company as an employer after completing the company registration process in Greece. Once you’ve completed that, you may start a business in Greece and hire new staff.

How Much Does it Cost to Incorporate a Company in Greece?

Cost of incorporating a company in Greece totals €5,400 in Year 1 and €1,900 in Year 2 and subsequent years for the company. The typical overall charge for a Greece engagement is €11,600, which covers all government fees, business incorporation, opening a foreign bank account for the company, and other expenses. Here is a bifurcation of some of the costs required for company incorporation in Greece:

Types of entities

Cost

LLC

€ 12,600

PLC

€ 13,700

Branch 

€ 13,100

Rep office

€ 13,600

Are Foreigners in Greece on Certain Passes Allowed to Start a Business in Greece?

The Greece Schengen business visa enables travelers to enter the Hellenic Republic (Greece) to start a business in Greece, including attending conferences, facilitating business, etc. 

Depending on the submitted application, this permit may be awarded as a single-entry, double-entry, or even multiple-entry type with a 90-day length within a 180-day term. The consular officer will still have the last say in this matter. Greece is a constituent of the Schengen Agreement and does not require a visa for its citizens or those of other countries.

Government Assistance for Foreign-owned Businesses in Greece

Greek companies with foreign ownership may qualify for government assistance or grants for starting a business in Greece. To start a business in Greece, you must know the initiatives and government-provided grants for starting a business in Greece. The Greek government is actively making constant efforts to boost foreign investment, undertake economic reforms, and lessen the effects of the pandemic. 

Since the end of Greece’s EU bailout program in 2018, the country has been able to borrow money at market rates, as evidenced by an upward trend in economic morale since 2017.  Greece sped up company registration in 2020 and eliminated the need for tax clearance, simplifying the procedures for establishing a firm. 

Greece has easy access to industrial land, and leasing it from the government takes three weeks. In 15 days, federal land can be rented. Yet, business dispute arbitration can take almost one year. However, setting up a company in Greece has become easier. As a result, Greece’s ease of doing business rating in 2020 was 96, placing it 79th overall and 11th for establishing a business.

How Multiplier Can Help

It takes a lot of planning, investigation, and financial thought before starting a business overseas. However, partnering with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and Employer of Record (EOR) company can ease the process. Multiplier is a renowned PEO and EOR company that specializes in providing a complete range of HR, payroll, and compliance solutions to businesses across various industries and locations. By working with Multiplier, businesses planning to set up an offshore company in Greece can hand off their HR responsibilities to our professionals, who will look after your global employee team, handle payroll, and ease the onboarding process for new hires. Without creating a subsidiary, our qualified experts will help you hire workers globally and grow your business internationally. We’ll take care of the day-to-day HR chores so you can concentrate on developing new markets and managing the administrative parts of your business.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Schengen business permit for Greece cannot be extended. These licenses are not normally extendable, just like in other Schengen nations.

Greek business can be conducted by an international corporation directly or through a subsidiary office.

For businesses wanting to start a business in Greece, a Greek corporation can be incorporated in around ten working days.

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