The significantly lower prices of properties in Greece over the last few years, a result of the economic crisis in the country, has attracted many prospective buyers from all over the world who are considering the purchase of plots, houses, and apartments offered for sale in Greece.
In addition, the number of tourists visiting the country annually has skyrocketed from about 12 million in 2012, to 29 million expected for 2017. This has sparked increased interest for real estate in the Aegean islands, in Crete, in the Ionian Sea and on the mainland.
The most common transaction we see is an overseas buyer purchasing real estate in Greece. However, sometimes a foreign company, without prior business activity in Greece looks to purchase property. Without prior dealings with Greek tax authorities, and no AFM, which is the Greek tax number, no progress can be made.
One of the preconditions, therefore, for a foreign company to purchase property in Greece is to apply for and obtain an AFM: required for every person and legal entity to do business and earn income in Greece.
The sole tax office in Greece with jurisdiction for this is in Kallithea. To meet the requirements for establishing an AFN, a company representative representative or a lawyer in Greece must file the constitution of the company, or articles of association or any other document with equal meaning and legal value. The documentation must be officially translated into Greek, which can be done either by the Translation Department of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or by a lawyer in Greece who can translate.
The offical documentation must have the Apostille stamp from its country of origin, if that country has adhered to the Hague Convention. Otherwise the documentsation must carry the notarisation stamp of the the Consulate of Greece in its country of origin, or the notarisation of the foreign country’s Consulate in Greece.
Sometimes the documentation presented fails to meet the standards of the Greek authorities, and doesn’t contain the approriate legal wording required for consideration. In such situations, action must be taken to ensure the correct documentation can be supplied proving the legal status of the company, detailing its shareholders, the status of its operation, etc.
For an overseas company to obtain an AFM in Greece, and purchase property there, it must send a power of attorney to a person living in Greece to become the company’s tax proxy. This person must sign an affidavit stating that they agree to become the foreign company’s tax proxy.
An official document from the foreign authority observing the operation of the foreign company is also required, as evidence that the company is still in operation and that it has not terminated its legal existence.
Once the tax office issues the AFM in the name of the foreign company, the company can purchase property in Greece. However, this type of AFM is limited to property ownership, and does not allow for business operations in Greece.
If an overseas company wishes to commence business activity in Greece, it must file additional tax documents and establish itself in the country for approved business activity, income earning, taxation, etc.