Business entities in Greece
Since 2003, Healy Consultants provides our Clients with the best corporate vehicles for starting their business in Greece. There are several ways of doing business in Greece, the most common being through the setup of a Greek limited liability company (LLC). Entrepreneurs may alternatively establish a public limited liability company (PLC). Foreign legal entities are also permitted to setup permanent establishments in the form of branch offices in Greece or representative offices if they do not plan to conduct any commercial operations.
The Greece limited liability company (EPE)
- The Greece limited liability company is the most common corporate vehicle used by entrepreneurs establishing a small business in Greece. An LLC requires at least 1 shareholder and 1 director who can either be an individual or a legal entity of any nationality. This director and shareholder are not required to be resident in Greece for company setup. A €4,500 minimum share capital is also required to complete the setup of a Greek EPE;
- The EPE must appoint a statutory auditor if it meets two of the following conditions i) has an annual turnover exceeding €5 million ii) total assets exceeding €2.5 million iii) has an average 50 employees in a fiscal year.
The Greece public limited company (AE)
- The Greece AE requires at least 1 shareholder and 3 directors who can either be individuals or legal entities to be incorporated. The directors and shareholder can be of any nationality and need not to be resident in Greece. This entity requires a minimum share capital of €60,000, that must be fully paid within 2 months of Greece business setup;
- The public limited company (AE) is also required by law to appoint a statutory auditor at after formation.
The Greece Private Capital Company (IKE)
- Like the LLC, an IKE can be incorporated with 1 director and 1 shareholder who can be of any nationality. However, unlike an LLC, the minimum share capital required is only €1;
- Please note, an IKE can only be registered for a definite duration which our Clients may mention in the M&AA. If no specific time period is mentioned, the duration is assumed to be 12 years, after which shareholders must apply for an extension of the company’s operations.
The Greece branch (Υποκαταστήματα)
The Greece Company Law permits foreign legal entities looking to setup permanent establishments in Greece to open branch offices in Greece. This entity requires at least 1 director and 1 legal representative who must be resident in Greece. A branch office is not considered a separate legal entity and therefore its parent company is liable for its obligations and activities.
The Greece representative office
Foreign legal entities may setup representative offices in Greece. A Greece representative office is not considered a legal entity and is not allowed to conduct any profit making activities in Greece. Such Greek business entity is only permitted conduct market research and to promote the parent company’s products and services.
Comparison table between Greece business entities
|LLC||PLC||Branch office||Rep office|
|Also known as||EPE||AE||Υποκαταστήματα||αντιπρόσωπος|
|How long to set the company up?||3 weeks||5 weeks||6 weeks||6 weeks|
|How long to open company bank account?||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|Wholly foreign owned?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Minimum share capital?||€4,500||€60,000||€1||€1|
|File annual tax return?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Tax registration certificate required?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Recommended corporate bank account?||HSBC||CitiBank||BNP Paribas||UniCredit Bank|
|Does our Client need to travel?||No||No||No||No|
|Resident director required?||No||No||No||No|
|Resident shareholder required?||No||No||No||No|
|Minimum directors allowed?||1||3||1||1|
|Tax identification code (TIN) needed?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Greece resident company secretary required?||No||No||No||No|
|Greece resident legal representative required?||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Corporate shareholders allowed?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Corporate director(s) allowed?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Greece corporate tax rate?||20%||20%||20%||0%|
|Annual financial statements required?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Statutory audit required?||No||Yes||No||No|
|Regulated by?||Chamber of Commerce and Industry||Chamber of Commerce and Industry||Chamber of Commerce and Industry||Chamber of Commerce and Industry|
|Allowed to issue sales invoices?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Allowed to sign contracts?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Allowed to import and export goods?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Can rent an office space in Greece?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can buy Greece property?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Can own equity in other Greece companies?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Total Greece business setup costs in Yr. 1||€11,600||€11,700||€12,100||€11,600|
|Subsequent annual costs (incl. accounting and tax fee)||€5,500||€6,500||€6,000||€5,200|
|Sample engagement invoice|