Inheritance Tax Greece

Inheritance tax in Greece differs a lot from UK, in addition to the complexity added by post-recession measures.
Article Last Updated: 08 Oct, 2023 under Inheritance

Dealing with the estate of a deceased can be quite stressful and daunting, especially when one takes into account the emotion associated with handling affairs of a loved one who has passed away.

Add to this the additional complication of dealing with foreign authorities, legal process and other matters that all combine to create a potentially confusing, burdensome and costly experience.

1. Calculation of Inheritance Taxes in Greece

Once such particular aspect is the issue of inheritance / succession taxes in Greece. While the method of calculating the amount of tax payable upon succession may appear to be relatively straightforward (where tax is applied on a progressive scale, first 150.000,00 Euro valuation of estate= tax free, 150.000,00 Euro to 300.000,00 taxed at 1%, 300.000,00Euro to 600.000 taxed at 5% and valuations in excess of 600.000,00 Euro at 10%).

This progressive tax scale applies only to immediate descendants (spouse and children, check also divorce in Greece related issues). Other rates apply to more distant relatives and third parties.

Furthermore, at the conclusion of the Greek debt crisis and the stringent financial targets that had been set by the “troika” of the IMF, ECB and the European Commission, the Greek Government implemented a debt repayment structure in 48 monthly instalments for debts incurred as a result of inheritance taxes.

2. Complicating Factors

While all this appears relatively straightforward and easy in its application to the taxation of estates, issues with Greek inheritance taxes can arise with respect to valuation of the estate and the pre-existence of building irregularities.

The big problem arises when discrepancies appear on a current topographical diagram/survey report especially when newer structures and buildings appear but somehow have not been registered, do not appear on title or built according to code. The tax office will want a bigger slice of the estate and the taxpayer will be arguing for adjustments and a smaller burden.

A real example that illustrates this type of problem is where taxpayer “A” bona fide accepted the tax office’s valuation and made adjusted payment of the tax in 48 instalments, being under the impression that he had walked away with a good deal, only to find that more problems appeared down the track when other authorities (building authorities, councils) discovered that there was a discrepancy of building structures that had been declared to the tax authorities and not disclosed to the building authorities.

This led to the imposition of additional fines, penalties and other nasty measures including demolition orders! It was at this time when taxpayer “A” sought legal assistance and is now involved in legal proceedings before the administrative courts, seeking appropriate remedies.

Of course, the solution is to seek professional help from the outset. Never accept a valuation from the tax authorities at face value before seeking professional advice and assistance.

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Joanna is a Greek lawyer fluent in English, Italian and Spanish, registered with the Bar Association of Thessaloniki since 2008. She obtained a Masters Degree in Transnational and European Commercial Law & ADR. She has worked as an independent lawyer for more than 10 years and has represented British and International clients before the Greek authorities in that time. She deals with commercial, corporate, contract investment, real-estate law and consumer law and alternative dispute resolution, having participated in arbitration proceedings and out of court negotiations.
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