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How to achieve different tax residence for spouses

21/01/2018

Following the rulings of the Council of State, according to which spouses could have a different tax residence and therefore submit separate tax returns, the administration issued a circular for such cases.

In particular, POL 1201/2017 redefined, among other things, the documentary evidence which the taxpayer wishing to transfer his/her tax residence to a foreign country must provide to the tax authorities, specifying also the case of the spouses.

Changing tax residence means in practice that the person concerned will not be taxed in Greece for his/her worldwide income, but only for incomes received in Greece (e.g. rents from real estate located in Greece, etc.).

How to change tax residence

In order for someone to transfer his/her tax residence from Greece abroad, one should submit to the tax authorities a relevant request and supporting documents to show one’s relocation.

The application must be made within the first ten days of March of the year following the year of relocation and the other supporting documents may be submitted by the end of the year in which the application is submitted.

The supporting documents required include:

  • A certificate of tax residence of the country in which the relocation occurred or a petition for the application of the double taxation agreement. If the above is not provided, a copy of the clearance of the income tax statement or of the statement itself submitted to the country of relocation. If it is established that the foreign tax authority does not issue the above documents, a certificate from any other public or municipal or other recognized authority is required to prove the permanent and stable establishment of that person in the other State.
  • supporting documents proving, on a case-by-case basis, the date of departure and establishment in the country of the place of residence in order to establish that the applicant has completed at least 183 days in that country in the year for which the change is requested. Also, documents relating to the taking up of paid employment, the taking up and pursuit of a professional activity and participation in the country's social security legislation, registration in a municipal office, rental of a place of residence, enrollment or attendance of children's schools in that country, etc. Alternatively, the taxpayer may submit tax residence certificates from the country in question for the previous two years.

The spouses

In particular, if one of the spouses applies for a change in his/her tax residence and the other remains a tax resident of Greece, in addition to the above supporting documents, additional and cumulative supporting documents should be provided showing that the person applying for the change is indeed outside of Greece and has organized his/her life abroad in a permanent or lasting way:

  • Evidence of employment abroad, which proves the permanent or long-term nature of employment.
  • Details of the existence of a bank account abroad.
  • Data on the existence of its own or leased housing and accounts of services of general interest abroad.
  • Information on the acquisition of a tax, insurance or equivalent register abroad (e.g. social security number).

The competent tax authority has to give its decision within two months of the filing of the supporting documents. If the application for a change of tax residence is accepted, the taxpayer is transferred to the tax office of foreign residents. 

If, on the contrary, his/her application is rejected, he/she has to file a tax return as a resident of Greece, but he/she has the right to lodge an appeal in court and further to appeal to the administrative courts.


G. Samothrakis, J. Panou
Posted on Sunday newspaper "KATHIMERINI", 21/01/2018

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