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GreeceBusinessOPINION; Mandatory Bank Account By The Greek Tax Authority

OPINION; Mandatory Bank Account By The Greek Tax Authority

Hellenic News of America
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 By Christos ILIOPOULOS*

Individual tax payers in Greece must file their yearly tax returns by the 26th of July 2024 (for income earned in 2023). Those who do have a Greek tax number (AFM), but they are registered by the Greek tax authority as foreign residents, must file their tax returns in Greece by the same due date, provided of course that they earned income in Greece last year. Foreign tax residents must file their income which they obtained in 2023 in Greece, not their income which they earned elsewhere in the world. Foreign residents in Greece usually declare as income rental earnings and state pensions. If you are a foreign resident in Greece, you do have a AFM Greek tax number, you own property in Greece but you did not earn income in Greece in 2023, you do not have to file annual tax returns. You only pay your ENFIA property tax for the property that you own in Greece.

This year the Greek tax authority has imposed a new obligation to all tax payers. They must declare in their tax returns their IBAN number, which essentially is their bank account number in Greece. IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number. It’s an internationally – agreed code made up of up to 34 letters and numbers that helps banks to process transfers around the world. IBAN is mostly a European thing, equivalent to the routing number in the USA. Greek residents will not have a problem in abiding by this obligation, since having at least one bank account in a country where you permanently live and most likely you have your professional establishment is normal.

Foreign residents, however, who do not work or live permanently in Greece, do not always have a bank account in Greece. If they do, they must consider themselves lucky, because in order to open a new bank account at a Greek bank, while you are a foreign resident, is not the easiest thing in the world. If you are a foreign resident, the Greek bank will request from you a number of documents from the country of your permanent tax residence. Apart from your passport, it will require a copy of your tax returns in the country where you live and work, showing your income there and its sources. It will also require an electricity bill from your country, which will state your name and your address, plus a phone bill, which will state your telephone number. You will also need a letter or other document from your professional board or your employer, proving that you work in the other country. In some cases, a bank in Greece may also request proof that you own a bank account abroad, meaning a letter from your bank that you have an account with them and a statement from that bank on your account(s). Finally, the bank in Greece will require your signature specimen, which in most cases you must give in person, by visiting the bank branch in

Greece, where you are to open the account. In some cases, the signature specimen could be given by your signing documents of the Greek bank at a Greek Consulate in your country, which will notarize / certify your signature. In any case, having a proxy in Greece, to whom you will have given power of attorney to organize the opening of your bank account, may help.
The mandatory IBAN in order to file your 2024 income tax returns in Greece is obligatory only for the Greek tax residents. For those who are considered foreign tax residents in Greece, the IBAN filing in your tax returns can be optional. However, if you are to receive a tax refund in Greece, your Greek IBAN becomes mandatory, even if you are a foreign resident.
*Christos ILIOPOULOS, attorney at the Supreme Court of Greece , LL.M.  www.greekadvocate.eu, e-mail: [email protected]

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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