ATHENS – While scores of thousands of Greeks fled the country during a near decade-long eonomic and austerity crisis, seeking jobs and a better life in other countries, a relative handful are coming back, along with foreign investors drawn by low taxes.
While Greeks can pay up to 45 percent of their income in taxes, the New Democracy government plan to lure the rich by giving them tax breaks has seen 75 move to the country, said Kathimerini, along with 1,232 who left Greece.
The paper said that was due to a favorable tax regime introduced in 2019 for foreigners who make Greece their tax status country, Finance Ministry data showing 335 foreign pensioners have also made the country their homes.
Minister Christos Staikouras said, “Taxation is an extremely useful tool for achieving growth and investment goals, in addition to securing public revenues. Greece, moving forward with a plan, vision and confidence.”
He said the country “has strongly recovered from the health crisis, is growing and is open to attracting investment and human capital,” although it’s struggling to recoup losses during the lingering COVID-19 pandemic.
Going on, he told the paper that, In this way, we are creating the appropriate conditions for the creation of many good new jobs, for the provision of opportunities to the Greeks, the young men and women, who are in our homeland or will return here.”
The report said data shows another 467 applications from people who want to work in Greece are pending, mostly Greeks who were part of the economic exodus and are coming back for jobs and a lower tax rate just for them.
Since the tax scheme was introduced it has brought in 9.4 million ($9.84 million) in revenues, a pittance, based on approval of applications from 75 investors and 23 relatives from 21 countries for the fiscal years 2020 and 2021 while another 27 applications are pending, interest growing because of a 50 percent tax cut.
Under the law, retirees pay a tax calculated at a rate of 7 percent on the total income earned abroad each tax year, far lower than those who had moved to the country previously and can’t benefit from the program.