Global expansion into Greece generally means that you need to set up an in-country entity. However, by partnering with us you create the possibility to bypass this process and utilize our Greek entity. By using our PEO-service we take care of the complicated paperwork.
Expanding into a new country is always an adventure, but we believe this adventure should be exciting instead of just frustrating and time-consuming. Therefore, we have been supporting companies in over a hundred countries with their expansion plans.
In this guide, we will share which documents you need to establish an entity in Greece, but also where you will need to register your business address and company’s name. We will also break down the advantages and disadvantages of setting up an entity in Greece.
Set up an entity in Greece
Foreign subsidiary entities in Greece hold the same company standing as any other conventional limited liability companies and are welcomed as equals with domestic businesses. It enjoys independence from the parent company and is subject to all national laws of Greece.
The registration process varies according to the entity type, and comes with some complexity – however, the establishment process is straightforward, and benefits from a ‘One Stop Shop’ model. Setting up a subsidiary in Greece, however, involves a heavy workload.
You can lighten this load by partnering with us, an Employer of Record (EOR) company. We can obtain your new personnel through our Professional Employer Organization (PEO) international recruitment specialists, and our EOR experts will handle all legal and compliance requirements. Use our services and be up-and-running with a presence in your new territory within days, rather than months.
How to set up a Greece Subsidiary
- Decide on the company type that suits the nature of your business and business goals in your new territory – The Greece Limited Liability Company (EPE), The Greece Public Limited Company (AE), The Greece Private Capital Company (IKE), or a branch.
- Obtain a business address in Greece.
- Have the appropriate registration documents certified by the Athens Bar Association and carry the Special Apostille of Hague Convention. The documents will also need to be translated into Greek.
- Confirm the company name and register the company with the unique registration office – GEMINET. Once approved, the company will be issued the Lawyers Welfare Fund certification, the registration number, and the Greek Business Registry (GEMI) number.
- Open a corporate bank account and deposit appropriate share capital, accompanied with the founders/shareholders’ documentation.
- File documents with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and once registered, will receive the company seal.
- Register with the Greek Tax Authorities and apply for a Tax Identification Number (AFM) with the local Tax Office/Internal Revenue Services (EFORIA).
- Apply for an employer’s social security number with the Unified Social Security Fund (EFKA).
- Once incorporated, file the subsidiary’s Articles of Incorporation with the Official Gazette.
- You will also need to apply for permits and residencies for employees if you would like to send employees to help set up the subsidiary.
- You must also register all employees at the Manpower Employment Organization, no later than 30 days from hiring.
Company registration fees vary according to the documents needed and other services such as translation, notarization, etc. However, the registration fees for most entity options are EUR 60 using the One Stop Shop online registration services, and EUR 10 for the registration services at the GE.MI. An additional EUR 30 can be paid to have distinctive national control of your company name/title.
Application Methods & Time
The time it takes to establish a company in Greece is two working days, after all documentation has been confirmed, translated, and notarized (which takes about 7 weeks).
This can be done through a One Stop Shop service at the General Commercial Registry (GE.MI), the Chamber of Commerce, or a notary public.
However, registration can also be done online at the One Stop Shop portal (e-YMS), which takes less than one working day to be established. Access to the service is free of charge, but to be eligible for this service, you must have a Greek Tax Identification Number.
Certain taxation or financial transactions they can also be completed online use the transactions through the TAXISNET service.
What you need to set up a Greece Subsidiary
If a foreign company wishes to expand into Greece, they must meet certain requirements:
- A Greek business address – leased or purchased with all relevant documentation.
- A Greek bank account with the appropriate share capital deposited (depending on the subsidiary type).
- Completed registration documents:
- The Memorandum of Association
- The Articles of Association
- The resolution of the parent company detailing its decision to form the subsidiary.
- Commencement of works (M3).
- Statement of company’s activities (M7) - The main activity of the parent company abroad, the services to be provided by the Greek branch/affiliate, details of its legal representative, the number of employees and their specialties, and the company’s affiliates, recipients of such services.
- Certified copy of the Company’s statute, with its amendment.
- A certificate (within two months of its issue date) issued by the local Chamber or other public authority certifying the establishment and operation of the company, the composition of its Board of Directors and signatures of the shareholders.
- A documented study (based on the Directorate’s model) of the company’s proposed profit margin, for the provided internal services by the company in Greece.
- Last year’s Balance Sheet and Income Statement for the Parent Company. For newly founded companies, a Founding Statement must be submitted.
- Confirmation of the appointment of a legal representative.
- A Certified Auditor’s Report accompanying financial documents.
- Certified registration documents from the Athens Bar Association with the Apostille of the Special Hague Convention, and Greek Translations.
- A company seal from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
- Confirmation of the business name from the unique registration office – GEMINET.
- The subsidiary must also be registered with the Greek Tax Authorities.
- A Tax Identifier Number (AFM).
- A social security number (EFKA).
- Application is also required for certain special permits and licenses with the city municipality, certain ministries, or special authorities – depending on the type of business one wants to do.
Benefits of Setting up a Greece Subsidiary
Greece is a growing business attraction and destination for establishing a subsidiary and growing your business’ influence. There are also significant benefits to establishing an entity in Greece:
- Subsidiaries are taxed the same way as any other resident company.
- Subsidiary entities also benefit from double tax treaties, which reduces or removes taxes on dividends, interests or royalties paid to the foreign country.
- Greece offers excellent opportunities for international connection due to its location amongst the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
- Road, port, and train infrastructures have been upgraded to promote and increase important and export trade, with the help of EU investment. Greece’s shipping infrastructure offers a platform for businesses to venture into nearby markets in the Balkans, the Black Sea, and the rest of the Eastern Europe.
- Greece’s IT, biotechnology, healthcare, and property management sectors hold attractive investment opportunities.
- Greece’s government is pursuing several initiatives to attract investment into the country, making company establishment efficient and easy.
- Non-EU investors can benefit from Golden Visa scheme – any capital or real estate investment can help board members or company shareholders get permanent residency in Greece, and access to the EU.
Greece Subsidiary Laws
Subsidiary Laws in Greece vary based on what type of entity you choose to establish, which are all regulated under the Greece Company Act. This entails meeting a few requirements:
Registration & Documentation
- A Limited Liability Company (EPE) requires at least one shareholder/founder and one director for registration, as well as a minimum share capital of EUR 4,500.
- A Public Limited Company (AE) requires at least one shareholder and 3 directors for registration, as well as a minimum share capital of EUR 60,000.
- Private Capital Company (IKE): requires at least one founder, with a least EUR 1 in minimum share capital.
- Entities must also be registered with the Social Insurance Organization (EFKA).
- All entities must be registered with the Greek Tax Authorities.
- All entities must be registered and regulated the Greek Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
- For the entity founders: foreign legal persons must submit certain documents, including Articles of Association that bears an apostille and are officially translated or certified by a consulate. They also need certification from their legal country of residence to verify the existence of the company, and a certified copy authorizing the appointment of a legal representative in Greece.
- They also need an M3 and M7 form for the company to apply for a Tax Identification Number (TIN).
Accounts and Taxation
- All entities must have a Tax Identification Number (TIN).
- Entities must file annual financial statements, as well as monthly VAT accounts and the annual VAT Return statement.
- All subsidiary companies must pay a corporate income tax rate of 24%.
- For Public Limited Companies (AE), an annual statutory audit is required.
- With-holding Tax payments are applicable to both resident and not-resident companies: dividends – 10%, interests – 15%, and royalties – 20%.
- Entities must also pay a stamp duty of 1.2-3.6%, depending on the transaction.
Working with Bradford Jacobs
Establishing an entity takes considerable time and resources, despite the ease of establishment you can find in Greece. To do this, you need to acquire the right people and the right resources. A cost-effective and time-saving alternative to this is engaging the services of a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) such as Bradford Jacobs.
With over two decades of global recruitment expertise and our Employer of Record (EOR) solutions, we can have employees operational within days, ensuring that all laws and regulations (employment, payroll, tax) are followed.
Our Human Resources’ experts will ensure a smooth transition of your onboarded employees into your new territory. International borders should not stand in the way of international expansion.
Contact us today to make your expansion goals a reality, with ease and confidence.