The ongoing search for a conclusion to a double taxation agreement between Greece and Australia seems closer; however, not close enough.

Steve Georganas, the federal member of Adelaide, is a vociferous advocate for the agreement over the last five years.

Georganas wrote to federal treasurer Jim Chalmers, (as he had to previous treasurers), who wrote back saying that Australia was ready to sign an agreement after some issues had been resolved.

“Australia remains committed to concluding negotiations,” wrote Chalmers.

“Agreements can take some time to complete as the pace of negotiations is dependent on the availability and agreement of the negotiating partner, and once a treaty has been agreed, it typically takes one to two years to complete the treaty’s implementation processes and to legislate the treaty, bringing it into Australia’s domestic law,” the treasurer adds.

A tax agreement between Australia and Greece may seem like “just another bureaucratic process”, said Georganas, “however, for Greek Australians, these negotiations hold a profound significance.”

“Those with small businesses in Greece come and go their Australian citizens, and the issue is to help them, so when they declare their income, including income from overseas, they pay a tax in Greece, and they pay a tax here.

“Australia has arrangements with countries where if you pay tax in the country your main country of residence, or where most of your business is carried out, you do not have to pay tax again,” Georganas told Neos Kosmos.

Australia seems ready to detail an agreement on double taxation, which would mean that those Greek Australians with business in Australia and Greece can pay tax in either nation but not both, as is the case now.

Tax should be paid, Georganas said, “where the bulk of the businesses is carried out.”

“We often talk about small businesses, and in some cases, it might be an apartment or two, maybe collecting rent, used to maintain the property and often just to pay for the annual holiday in Greece, so why pay on that income .”

No doubt, the lack of tax agreement impedes those in the Diaspora who want to invest in Greece, as it is for those from Greece looking to invest in Australia.

Georganas is also one of those politicians meeting Greece’s Deputy Interior Minister, Theodoros Livanios, who will visit Australia next week for the March 25 commemorations of the Greek Revolution of Independence.

“I will be raising it with him as I have raised it every time I visit Greece, with every minister I meet.

“We’ve been negotiating with Greece for a long time – for five years – and we want to come to a solution,” said Georganas.

Neos Kosmos asked the member for Adelaide if Greece was being over-bureaucratic and sluggish. Avoiding criticism of Greece, he said that he was “confident that Greece also want to see this happen.”

“Australia is committed to ensuring that we get it done and dusted; we understand it’s not fair on small businesses keen on building trade and links with Greece.”