Getting a VAT refund

When a business is eligible for a VAT refund

Any business (taxable person) established in another Member-State (MS), who carries out transactions (delivery of goods and/or provision of services) giving rise to a right of deduction in his MS of establishment, is eligible for the refund of VAT incurred on his expenses in Greece.

To qualify for a refund under this procedure, during the refund period a business must NOT have:

  • the seat of its economic activity or a permanent establishment from which business transactions are effected, in Greece or
  • supplied goods or services there – apart from:
    • transport and ancillary services thereto that are carried out in Greece and are exempted from VAT as being related to the import or export of goods or the international transports .
    • the supply of goods or services for which the applicant would be liable for payment of the related VAT under the reverse-charge mechanism .
       

What types of goods/services can and cannot be refunded

Some categories of expenditure don't allow for VAT refunds. Τhese categories are:

  • supplies of goods that are exempt or should be exempt as intra-Community supplies, or as exports (supplies of goods outside the Community)
  • goods or services for which no right of deduction is granted in Greece. In this case, VAT shall not be refunded for expenditures on:
  1. purchase, import or intra-community acquisition of tobacco products or alcoholic beverages
  2. receptions, entertainment and hospitality
  3. accommodation, food, beverages, transportation and entertainment for the company's staff or representatives
  4. purchase, import or intra-community acquisition of private passenger cars with up to nine seats, motorcycles, vessels and aircraft for private use, intended for recreation or sports, as well as expenditures on fuel, repair, maintenance, rental and circulation thereof
  • in general, expenditures that are not related to the economic activity of the applicant.

For more information on the specific categories of expenses for which Greece grants the right of deduction in accordance with the codes specified in the Annex of the COMMISSION REGULATION (EC) No 1174/2009 of 30 November 2009 as amended by Regulation 79/2012, you may visit:

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

What the rules are on proportional deduction (pro-rata)

When a taxable person not established in Greece, carries out in the MS in which he is established (MS of establishment) both taxable supplies (with the right of deduction) and tax exempt transactions (without the right of deduction), he may not be able to reclaim all of the VAT paid. In this case the competent Greek Tax Authorities will refund, only the proportion of the VAT that corresponds to the transactions giving right of deduction in the MS of establishment.
 

What the procedure is for applying for a refund

The EU VAT refund procedure is aligned between the EU member states and is enforced according to the provisions of the Directive 2008/9/EC. Claimants have to send an electronic refund claim to their own national tax authorities – who then forward it (electronically) to the EU country where the claimant incurred the VAT within 15 days, subject to the provisions set in the Directive (the claimant's identity and VAT identification number and the validity of their claim has to be confirmed).
 

Whether the applicant can use a third party to submit a claim for a VAT refund

A third party (agent) can submit a claim on behalf of the applicant only if he has the applicant’s username and password to access the MS of establishment’s VAT Refunds portal.

- If so, whether they need to provide any additional documentation

No additional documentation is required as long as the beneficiary of the bank account given is the applicant.

- Whether payments can be made to third parties

Payments can be made to a third party, provided that his bank account details have been completed in the corresponding fields of the electronic application. In this case an original Power of Attorney (PoA) shall be submitted directly to the competent tax authority by the applicant stating that the third party is entitled to collect the VAT refunds. The provided for this case PoA must be certified by the local Greek consular authority where the applicant is established or by the Authority that has been designated for certification according to Hague Convention.

Any original document(s) should be addressed to the Greek competent authority, to the following address:

Directorate for the Implementation of Indirect Taxation / VAT Refunds Dpt.,

Postal address: 2-4, Sina Street, 106 72 Athens, Greece (4th floor, office nr. 401)
 

What information should be included in the refund application

The electronic form of the application should contain the following information:

  • the applicant's name
  • the applicant’s address of his business activity and contact information (tel, e-mail address)
  • the applicant’s ΤΑΧ identification number (for the purposes of VAT)
  • a code of the applicant's business activity in relation to the submitted expenses– [All Member States should use the NACE codes in accordance with the Regulation (EC) No 1893/2006]
  • the period covered by the refund application
  • the member state of refund
  • bank account details (beneficiary’s name, IBAN and BIC codes)
  • declaration by the applicant that he has not supplied any goods and services within the Member State of Refund which are deemed to have been supplied within that Member State of Refund during the refund period, with the exception of the supply of exempted transport services and services ancillary thereto as well as supplies to which the reverse charge mechanism is applicable in Member State of Refund
  • details of the applicant’s representative (if applicable)

 

In addition to the above, the following details for each one of the expenditure documents should be included:

  • name and full address of the supplier;
  • the tax identification number or tax reference number of the supplier
  • date and number of the document
  • taxable amount and amount of VAT expressed in the currency of Member State of Refund
  • the amount of deductible VAT (after the pro-rata calculations) expressed in the currency of Member State of Refund
  • where applicable, the percentage of the deductible proportion (pro-rata percentage)
  • nature of the goods and services acquired according to the codes 1 to 10 [Commission Regulation (EC) No 1174/2009 of 30 November 2009]
     

What the minimum refund limits are

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

The refund period shall not be more than one calendar year or less than three calendar months. Refund applications may, however, relate to a period of less than three months where the period represents the remainder of a calendar year.
 

What the time limit is to request a refund

The application must be submitted to the Member State of Establishment by 30 September of the calendar year following the refund period.
 

What the time limit is for an authority to process a refund

The Member State of refund has four months from the date of receipt of an application to notify the applicant of its decision to approve in whole or partially, or refuse the application, or to ask for further additional information.

Where additional information is required, it has a further two months from receiving that information.

Where it has asked for further information, it shall, in any case, notify the applicant of its decision within 8 months of the receipt of the application.

Where the refund application is approved, payment should be made within 10 working days.
 

Whether there are any repayment supplements available if the authority is late paying the VAT back

There is provision in the Greek Tax Procedure Code (Law 4174/2013) that interest is paid to the applicant on the amount of the refund due, if the refund is paid after the deadlines for payment.

No interest is paid if additional information has been requested from the applicant and it has not been submitted within the provided deadline.
 

Whether there is a limit on how many applications are allowed annually

Greece accepts a maximum of:

  • 4 quarterly refund applications or
  • 2 semi-annual refund applications or
  • a combination of the above (for example, one application for the 1st Semester and two applications for the 3rd and 4th quarter are acceptable)

Moreover, one (1) supplementary application is accepted, for the remaining of the calendar year.
 

Whether copies of invoices are required

Greece will ask for scanned copies of invoices or original invoices according to the submitted list registered electronically with the application, as additional information according to article 20 of the Council Directive 2008/9/EC, when it considers that it does not have all the relevant information on which to make a decision.

The maximum size limit for an attachment has been agreed at 5 Megabytes (Mb). In case the size of the attachment(s) exceeds 5 Megabytes (Mb), the applicant can submit it via e-mail, to the email address: vatrefunds@aade.gr referring to the number of the respective VAT refund application.
 

How the authority will communicate with the applicant

The communication with the applicant shall be effected, via e-mail, via the administrative cooperation with the MS of establishment, by phone, by post, or by the presence of the authorized third party in person.
 

Whether application errors can be corrected and if so how

  • If the applicant hasn’t included in his refund application some invoices of the same period, he can send one supplementary application with all the invoices missing
  • If some elements in the refund application are incorrect, they can be modified with a new application. Attention: the new modified application preserves the same reference number of the initial application.
  • If, after the submission of the refund application the deductible proportion (pro-rata) is adjusted, the applicant shall make a correction in this proportion, by submitting a separate declaration via the electronic portal of the MS of establishment.

 

What the procedure is for appealing against a decision

When the applicant’s claim is partially or in whole rejected he has the right of reexamination via the submission of an administrative recourse.

This administrative recourse is submitted to the Greek VAT Refunds Department along with the required documentation (in accordance with the provisions of art. 63 of the Code of Tax Procedure, Law 4174/2013) and it must state the reasons and documents upon which this reexamination is based.

Submitting recourse directly in front of Administrative Courts prior to the reexamination of the administrative recourse will not be accepted.

Along with the submission of the administrative recourse it is mandatory to appoint as representative a person that has his establishment (or place of work) in the region of Attica. In that recourse all the necessary data of communication with that person (i.e. name, surname, father’s name, profession, address of communication, telephone number, fax and e-mail) must be stated. (Relevant Decision ΠΟΛ. 1064/12.4.2017 https://www.aade.gr/sites/default/files/2018-05/pol-1064-2017.pdf )
 

- Whether there are any time limits for appeals

The submission of this recourse within 60 days from the notification of this Decision is provided for, according to the provisions of Article 63 of the Code of Tax Procedure (Law 4174/2013).

According to article 5 of the above-mentioned Code, it is considered that the notification took place within 10 days from the date that the competent authority sent copy of the Decision (in Greek language) in the applicant’s e-mail address.
 

What the rules are for incorrect applications

In case of incorrect applications (i.e. for expenses that should be submitted to another MS, submitted invoices from a different refund period, wrong bank account information), the applicant is notified accordingly via any appropriate means (either email or telephone). Such applications shall be rejected partially or in whole with the appropriate reasoning. The notification of the decision takes place accordingly to the applicant’s registered email.
 

What the circumstances are where a requester’s EU country won’t send the refund request

The requester’s EU country will not forward the refund request to the EU member state of refund, if during the refund period the requester:

  • is not a taxable person for VAT purposes.
  • only carries out exempt supplies in the Member State of establishment without right of deduction.
  • is covered by the exemption for small businesses.
  • is covered by the flat rate scheme for farmers.

 

Whether refunds can be granted without reciprocal agreements to non-EU based businesses

In Greece, the competent authority will only grant VAT refunds to non-EU based businesses if the authorities in the non-EU (third) country offer similar refund arrangements as those for businesses based in Greece. There must be a mutual written agreement between the competent authority of Greece and that of the third (non-EU) country.

Currently Greece has reciprocity agreements with Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom (as of 1/1/2021).

 

For further information please see Minstry’s Decision POL. 1003/2010

 

Competent authority for the content:

Independent Authority for Public Revenue

Gen. Directorate of Tax Administration

Directorate for the Implementation of Indirect Taxation

VAT Refunds Department

Tel.: +30 210 36 44 960, 990

Email: vatrefunds@aade.gr