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Greece Wants to Make Home Buying Easier – for Foreigners

Ευρωκίνηση

(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Yorgos Kontarinis)

ATHENS – Piling on the incentives for foreigners with mean to live in Greece – leaving out many in the Diaspora who can't afford the terms of programs such as Golden Visas and moving their tax base, the New Democracy government is looking over plans to make home purchases easier.

Tax consultants contacted by the newspaper Kathimerini, which reported on the plans, said there has been an increase in interest in buying homes in the country, especially from those in cold northern European countries.

The government, eager to get the economy going again to offset the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic, wants to make it cheaper for people to relocate to Greece through a range of attractive measures.

But some are skeptical about the taxes, especially the hated ENFIA property tax surcharge imposed during the bailout years – the 362 billion euros ($383.9 billion) in rescue packages ended Aug. 20, 2018 but the tax is still here.

Among the thoughts, the paper said, is to raise the tax-free ceiling on the supplementary tax included in ENFIA so as to bring the total property tax down to levels closer to European Union levels. 

The ceiling is 250,000 euros ($294,823.35) and may be increased to as much as 350,000 euros ($412,752.55) and the supplementary tax will be abolished once ENFIA comes under the jurisdiction of municipal authorities as of 2022.

Earlier the government said it would offer European pensioners a flat tax of 7 percent no matter their income – it's 28 to 44 percent for Greeks – if the foreigners moved their tax base to Greece as a condition.

To qualify, the pensioner cannot have been a tax resident of Greece in the previous five years before the relocation and must be relocating from a country that has a dual taxation agreement with Greece.