Getting a VAT Refund from Greece

(Beta version)

When is a business entitled to a tax refund?

Each company with a registered office in another EU member state which is subject to VAT is entitled to a VAT refund for business expenses (concerning delivery of good and/or provision of services performed in Greece, for which it would have the right to deduct the tax, if these were carried out in the country of its permanent location.

A condition for tax refund is that the company, throughout the period concerning the refund, does NOT have:

  • The registered office of its economic activity or a permanent establishment from which it exercises its activity in Greece.
  • Delivered goods or provided services in Greece, with the exception of:
    • The provision of transportation services and relevant services, which are exempt from tax as connected to the import or export of goods or international transport.
    • The delivery of good/provision of services for which the recipient (applicant) is liable to tax pursuant to the statutory provisions.
       

Which expenses (for goods/services) can and cannot be refunded?

The amounts of value added tax for which the applicant is charged in Greece and concern the following do not provide a right of refund:

  • Delivery of goods that fall or should fall within the exemptions as intra-community deliveries or exports (deliveries or good outside the community)
  • Goods and services for which no right of deduction is provided for in Greece, such as expenses related to:

a) purchase, import or intra-community acquisition of tobacco products and alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages.

b) receptions, entertainment and hospitality.

c) accommodation, food, beverages, transportation and entertainment for the business personnel or representatives.

d) purchase, import or intra-community acquisition of passenger cars for private use with up to nine seats, motorcycles, boats and aircrafts for private use intended for leisure or sports, as well as the costs for their fuel, repair, maintenance, lease and circulation.

 

For more information on the specific categories of expenses for which Greece refunds the relevant tax, according to the expense codes defined in the Annex to Regulation (EC) 1174/2009 of November 30th, 2009, as amended by Regulation 79/2012, please visit the following link:

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/tic/public/vatRefund/codes/VatRefCodesPublication.html  
 

Which are the rules concerning Pro-rata

When the applicant, who does not have their registered office in the country of refund, carries out both taxable transactions (with a right of refund) and exempt transactions (without the right of refund) in their country of residence, then the Greek tax authorities will refund only out of the initially approved amount only the amount corresponding to the inputs that provide them with a right of deduction in their country.
 

Procedure of submission of a VAT refund application

The VAT refund procedure has been harmonized at EU level and applies in all Member States in accordance with Directive 2008/9/EC. The VAT refund application must be electronically submitted at the tax authorities of the member-states of the company’s home country. Subsequently and as long as the conditions set by the Directive are met (identification of the applicant, verification of his tax identification number and verification of the validity of his application), the tax authorities of the member states of the company’s home country will forward (by electronic means) the application to the competent authorities of the country in which the expenses have been incurred, within 15 days from the date of its submission.

 

Can a third party (representative) apply for VAT refund instead of the applicant?

The application is electronically submitted and requires the use of the applicant’s credentials to access the electronic portal of the applicant’s member-state’s home country (username and password).

  • If yes, do they need to submit additional documents?

A third party (representative) may submit a VAT refund application. No additional documents are required for submission of the application by the representative, if the bank account details indicate an account held by the applicant.

  • Can the payment of the approved refund be made to third parties?

The payment of the approved amounts of refund can be made to a third party, on condition that the third party’s details have been entered in the refund application and provided that he has submitted to the competent tax authority an original power of attorney of the applicant, authoring him to receive the amounts of refund. The power of attorney must be certified by the Greek consular authority of the applicant’s home country or the Authority designated for Apostille in accordance with the Hague

The original documents must be sent to the relevant tax authority at the following address:

Indirect Tax Implementation Division

Section C΄ - VAT Refund to companies having their registered office within and outside the EU.

Postal Address: 20-4 Sina Street, 106 72 Athens, Greece (4th floor, office 401)

 

Which information should the refund application include?

The type of refund application has the form of an “electronic” form and must contain the following information of the applicant:

a) company name

b) business address and contact details (telephone, email)

c) Tax Identification Number (TIN) in the member-state of its registered office (for VAT purposes)

d) activity code number of the applicant and its description (all members states use the NACE activity code pursuant to the Regulation (EC) with No.398/2006],

d) the period covered by the refund application

e) the member-state of refund

f) the bank account details (with the name of the beneficiary, the IBAN and BIC codes)

g) a statement by the applicant declaring that he neither delivered any goods nor provided any services within the member-state of refund that could be considered to be carried out within the state, with the exception of the provision of transport services and those related to services which are exempt from tax as well as deliveries of goods and services to a person liable to pay the tax (charge reversal mechanism).

h) representative’s details (if any) 

In addition to the above, the following information must also be included as regards the registration of documentary expenses:

a) name and full address of the supplier

b) The Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the supplier in the member-state of refund

c) The number of date of invoice

d) The taxable value and VAT value expressed in the currency of the member-state of refund

e) the VAT value that is deducted and which has been determined on a pro-rata basis, expressed in the currency of the member-state of refund

f) a pro-rata percentage (if any)

g) a description of the type of goods or services and classification under specific codes 1-10 [Regulation (EC) No. 1174/2009]

 

 Which is the minimum (requested) amount of refund?

  • 400 Euros or the equivalent in each national currency if the refund period is between 3 months and less than one calendar year.
  • 50 Euros or the equivalent in each national currency if the return period is a calendar year or the remainder of a calendar year.

 

The period of refund should not be longer than one calendar year or less than three calendar months. The VAT refund application may, however, concern a period of less than three months, if this period corresponds to the remainder of the calendar year.

 

 

 

Timeframe for submission of a VAT refund application

The application must be submitted to the member-state of registered office by September 30th of the calendar year following the refund period.

 

What is the timeframe for processing of a VAT refund application by the competent authority?

The competent authority of the member-state of refund has four months from the date of receipt of the application to notify the applicant of its decision, i.e. to approve -in whole or in part- or reject the application or request additional information.

When additional information is requested, the member-state of refund has two more months from receipt of this information to communicate its decision to the applicant. 

In case the member-state of refund has requested other additional information, it shall in definitely notify the applicant of its decision within 8 months from reception of the application. If the refund is approved, the refund of the approved amount will be made within 10 working days maximum.

 

Is there provision for the payment of additional compensation if the Authority delays the payment of the approved VAT amount?

Pursuant to the Tax Procedure Code (Law 4174/2013), interest is to be paid to the applicant on the amount of the refund due if the refund is paid after the payment due date.

No interest is payable if additional information has been requested from the applicant and has not been sent within the period set.

 

Is there a limit to the number of applications allowed per tax year?

Greece accepts a maximum of:

a) four refund applications concerning a three-month period or

b) two refund requests concerning a six-month period or

c) a combination of a) and b) for example one refund application for the first semester and two applications for the third and fourth semesters.

In addition, a supplementary application may be submitted for each calendar yar for any remaining invoices.
 

Can copies of invoices be requested?

Greece requests from the applicant to submit, together with their (electronic) application, copies of invoices or original invoices of all the documents listed in the application, as additional information, based on Article 20 of Directive 2008/9/EC of the Council, when it deems that it does not have all the necessary information on the basis of which the decision will be made. 

The maximum allowed size for an attached file is five (5) Megabytes (Mb). As long as the attachments exceed 5 MBs, the applicant can submit them via e-mail to the e-mail address vatrefunds@aade.gr, indicating the number of the corresponding refund application.

 

How will the competent authority contact the applicant?

Communication with the applicant is carried out via: electronic correspondence (e-mail), administrative cooperation with the member-state of the applicant’s registered office, via telephone, via post or even via personal presence of an authorized third party.

 

Can errors in completion of the submitted application be corrected and if so, how?

  • If the applicant has not included in the refund application some invoices of the period covered by the application, then the applicant can send a supplementary application with the remaining invoices.
  • If some details in the refund application are not correct, then the applicant can submit an amending application with the correct details. Attention: the amending application must have the same application number (reference number) as the original application, the details of which are amended.
  • If, upon submission of the refund application, the deductible percentage (pro-rata) is adjusted, then the applicant shall make a correction to this percentage by submitting a separate application through the online portal of the member-state of the registered office.

 

What is the appeal procedure against a VAT refund decision?

When the refund application is rejected either in part or in whole, the applicant shall have the right to reconsider his application by filing an appeal. The appeal is submitted to the VAT Refund Department of the competent authority in Greece, accompanied by the necessary documents, as defined in Article 63 of the Tax Procedure Code (n.4174/2013) and must state the reasons and supporting documents on the basis of which the review request is submitted.

The submission of an appeal directly to the Administrative Courts before the review of the appeal as part of the administrative procedure by the Division of Dispute Resolution shall not be accepted. Along with the submission of the appeal, it is mandatory to appoint a representative having his registered office (or his place of work) in the Region of Attica. All the contact details for that person (such as first name, last name, father’s name, occupation, contact address, phone number, fax number and email address) must be stated in the aforementioned appeal.

For more information consult the Circular 1064/12.4.2017 https://www.aade.gr/sites/default/files/2018-05/pol-1064-2017.pdf

 

  • Is there a timeframe to file an appeal?

The filing of an administrative appeal must be made, pursuant to the provisions of Article 63 of the Tax Procedure Code (Law 4174/2013), within 60 days from notice of the decision.

According to Article 5 of the aforementioned Code, it is considered that this notice was made within ten (10) days from the date the competent authority sent a copy of the decision (in Greek) to the applicant's email address.

 

What are the rules for incorrect applications?

If incorrect applications have been submitted (for example submission of documents that should have been submitted in another member-state, submission of invoices for another period, wrong bank account number etc.), the applicant shall be informed by any appropriate means (either via email or by phone). Such applications are rejected, either in whole or in part, with the relevant justification. The notice of the decision is sent on the email indicated by the applicant.
 

In which cases the applicant’s member-state does not forward a VAT refund application?

The member-state of the applicant’s registered office shall not forward an application

- the applicant is not subject to VAT.

- the applicant in the member-state of his registered office exclusively carries out deliveries of goods and services which are tax exempt without the right to deduct input tax.

- the applicant falls within the small business exemption scheme.

- the applicant falls within the special regime for farmers.

 

To what extent can VAT be refunded to non-EU businesses without a reciprocity agreement?

In Greece, the competent authority approves VAT refunds to companies based in a non-EU country (third country) only if the authorities of the third country carry out similar refunds to companies based in Greece. There must be a written reciprocity agreement between the competent authorities of Greece and the respective third country.

Currently, Greece holds a reciprocity agreement with Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom.

For more information, please see the Decision 1003/2010 of the Minister of Finance and the Decision Α.1121/2022 of the Head of IAPR.

 

Authority responsible for the content:

Independent Authority of Public Revenue

General Directorate of Tax Administration

Indirect Tax Implementation Division

Section C΄ - VAT Refund to companies having their registered office within and outside the EU.

Postal Address: 20-4 Sina Street, 106 72 Athens

Tel.: +30 210 3644960, 990

Email: vatrefunds@aade.gr