Company Formation Greece
Updated on Wednesday 05th February 2020
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Our specialists are ready to offer company formation services in Greece and they can also advise on the procedures for offshore company formation in any of the reputable offshore jurisdictions around the world. Our consultants at Bridgewest provide the following services for company incorporation in Greece:
- drawing up the articles of association that can be signed through power of attorney (Greek laws require powers of attorney for any public notary proceedings);
- drawing up documents for company incorporation in Greece - specimen signatures, passport copies, application forms required for company registration;
- arranging public notary proceedings (all procedures for company incorporation are done in front of a Greek public notary);
- providing a registered office in Greece on demand - the registered office serves as headquarters for the company in Greece and it will be made public;
- setting up a bank account for the company in Greece - BridgeWest will help in setting up the share capital bank account, as well as a current bank account once the company is incorporated;
- recommending a Greek accountant, as accounting services are needed for new businesses in Greece.
The limited liability company (EPE) in Greece
The Greek limited liability company is chosen for small business enterprises and it requires a minimum share capital of EUR 4,500 and half of it must be paid upon incorporation in cash. The Greek limited company requires at least two shareholders who can be natural or legal persons, nationals or foreigners and also a director.
The liability of the shareholders will be limited to the extent of their contributions. Single individuals are also allowed to set up so called "one person limited liability companies" that require a shareholder and a director; it is also necessary to have a registered office.
Please note that this company type, which is also very common for those interested in offshore company formation, requires to appoint an auditor, provided that specific conditions are met. In Greece, the audit has to be completed when the company as annual turnover above EUR 5 million, if its total assets have a value of EUR 2.5 million and if it hires more than 50 employees. The obligation to conclude the audit is necessary if at least two of the above mentioned conditions are met by a Greek limited liability company.
The company limited by shares - stock corporation (AE) in Greece
The Greek company limited by shares or the stock corporation is preferred by larger companies as it requires a minimum share capital of EUR 60,000. The nominal value of each share must be comprised between EUR 0.30 and EUR 100. The Greek stock corporation can be founded by at least one national or foreign individual or legal entity that will be held liable for the company’s debts and obligations to the extent of the capital contributions. Some of the basic characteristics of this structure are presented below:
- this company type can be used for a wide range of business activities that can be performed in Greece;
- it can be incorporated in a period of 5-6 working days, depending on the documents provided by its founders;
- its founders can benefit from anonymity, in the case of investors purchasing anonymous shares;
- from a managerial point of view, the highest organ in the company is represented by the general assembly of the shareholders;
- the administrative structure in this country type is established by the board of directors, which must be comprised of at least three entities (natural persons or legal entities).
The private company (IKE) in Greece
The Greek private company is a new form of company that requires at least one shareholder and a minimum share capital of EUR 1. The Greek IKE is a legal entity and its shareholders are not held liable for the company’s debts and obligations.
Although this company type has the same characteristics of a limited liability company, it must be noted that the Greek IKE can be registered only for a definite period of time. This has to be mentioned in the company’s statutory documents, namely the memorandum and the articles of association. In the case in which the articles of association do not mention the duration of the company, the Greek laws will interpret that the company can operate for a maximum period of 12 years, at the end of which its founders must apply for an extension.
Greek branch, subsidiary and representative office
Foreign companies are allowed to set up separate enterprises from the parent company, where the foreign company will be a shareholder in a Greek company. Foreign companies can also open extensions of the parent company in Greece. Our specialists in company formation in Greece can offer more details on the characteristics and the benefits of each one of these company types.
In the case of the Greek branch, foreign enterprises must appoint at least one director and one legal representative in order to perform any business activities in this country. The branch office is not a separate legal entity from its parent company, in the sense that it does not have legal personality, but it is considered a permanent establishment in Greece, which means that it will pay taxes accordingly to the Greek tax laws for the activities developed in this country.
Taxation in Greece
The standard VAT rate in Greece is 24%, but reduced rates of 13% and 6% apply to certain categories of products. The corporate tax in Greece is set at 24%. For both Greek and foreign companies, the dividend tax is set at 10%, but no withholding tax applies under certain provisions or tax treaties. BridgeWest is also able to offer ready-made Greek companies and VAT registration. Please address to us for more information regarding the taxation system in Greece.
What are the characteristics of the Greek business environment?
At a global level, Greece is known as a country which is highly developed in the tourism industry. With regards to the overall business market, Greece has a diversified economy, with a large number of foreign companies operating here. The data provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority show the following:
- at the level of 2017, there were a total of 2,618 foreign affiliated enterprises operating in Greece;
- their total turnover for the same year was set up at EUR 37.6 billion;
- the highest share of foreign companies was represented by businesses registered in Cyprus (38.7%);
- UK based businesses accounted for 7.6%, while Germany and the USA had the same share, of 6.2%;
- The Netherlands represents another important partner country, accounting for 6.1% from all the foreign businesses.
At the level of 2017 (data measured for the fourth quarter of the year), the labor force in Greece stood at more than 3.7 million employed persons. From this, a share of 51.9% represented employees hired in local and foreign businesses, while a share of 17.9% was represented by self-employed persons who had no other employees but themselves. In Greece, a share of 6% is represented by self-employed persons who have their own personnel.
When starting a business in Greece, additional steps should be taken into consideration. The investors may need to apply for specific business permits and licenses. Besides this, most of the company types operating here must open a corporate bank account, one of the legal requirements for developing a commercial activity. Having a corporate account is necessary in all jurisdictions around the world, including in offshore jurisdictions, where investors need to set up an offshore bank account.
Other aspects can apply as well, depending on the business sector in which the investors prefer to invest. This is why we highly recommend you to contact our team of consultants in company registration in Greece for any additional information regarding the incorporation of a Greek business.