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Greece: Import VAT payment deferral in Greece

On March 7 2013, Greek Law 4132/2013 introduced a special regime for suspension of the requirement to pay VAT upon importation of non-excisable goods by foreign taxable persons having a VAT registration number in Greece. This applies to the extent that such goods are mainly used for exports to third countries or intra-EU deliveries to EU countries. Practically this introduces a deferral of payment of import VAT; while import VAT shall be assessed on the customs documents upon importation, the importer will account for this VAT on their periodic VAT return. To take advantage of this regime, a foreign taxable person intending to act as importer of record in Greece should apply in advance to the Greek Ministry of Finance to obtain a state license. The license shall be granted providing the following conditions are cumulatively met:

  • The prospective importer is a taxable person, who has a VAT registration in Greece, but is not established for VAT or corporate tax purposes locally.

  • The goods are not subject to excise taxes.

  • The prospective importer will import goods of a statistical value exceeding €300 million ($387 million) on an annual basis. For the first five years of application of the import VAT payment suspension regime, the respective threshold has been set to €120 million. If the prospective importer is a member of a group of companies, the above annual threshold must be exceeded either on a company level or on a group consolidated level.

  • The amount of VAT, payment of which has been suspended, is reported on the importer's periodic VAT return filed locally in Greece.

  • Goods reflecting 90% or more of the value of the goods imported annually are used to carry out either intra-EU deliveries or exports. If the prospective importer is a member of a group of companies, this annual threshold can be exceeded either on a company level or on a group consolidated level.

The above law is already effective since March 7 2013, but administrative guidelines are expected in May 2013, to apply this in practice (that is apply, and obtain the license).

Manos N Tountas (manos.n.tountas@gr.ey.com)

Ernst & Young

Tel: +30 210 2886 387

Website: www.ey.com

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