Tax and fiscal measures adopted by the Greek government to mitigate the impact of COVID-19

Greek government has adopted a series of measures relating to tax and other fiscal matters to assist businesses and individuals mitigate the negative effects of coronavirus pandemic. In this report, you may find a summary of such measures.

Measures under Legislative Act 55/11.03.2020

The main measures introduced by this Act include suspension of VAT payment, suspension of the collection of certain debts and extension of the deadline for the payment of social security contributions. More specifically:
• Payment of VAT due between 11.03.2020 and 30.04.2020 and payment of VAT already due on 11.03.2020 for businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 is suspended until 31.08.2020.
• Payment of taxes due between 11.03.2020 and 30.04.2020 for businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 and their employees is suspended until 31.08.2020.
• No late payment interest or surcharges shall be incurred during the suspension period.
• These measures shall apply to businesses, whose principal activity code number (in Greek: ΚΑΔ), as declared until 20.03.2020, is included in the list of affected businesses as specified by the respective Ministerial Decisions.
• The enterprises making use of the above measures must maintain the number of job positions during the suspension period, otherwise they will lose the benefits granted.
• The measures do not apply to Central Governmental bodies, to public entities, to private entities owned or funded by the State and to certain other public enterprises.
• The deadline for the payment of social security contributions or the relevant installments payable by businesses for their employees shall be extended. Security contributions of February and March 2020, payable until 31.03.2020 and 30.04.2020 respectively, may be paid until 30.09.2020 and 31.10.2020 respectively.
• The deadline for the payment of debts assessed, due between 11.03.2020 and 30.04.2020, is suspended for natural persons leasing real estate property to businesses affected by COVID-19 and for employees of businesses whose operation has been mandatorily suspended and therefore their employment contract has been suspended.

Measures under Legislative Act 68/20.03.2020

• The applicable VAT rate for specific goods (e.g. protective masks and gloves, antiseptic products, products used for personal hygiene purposes, ethyl alcohol) is reduced from 24% to 6% until 31.12.2020.
• Immediate refund of income taxes and VAT up to €30,000 per tax category and taxpayer, requested with pending income tax return applications, without prejudice to the provisions regarding statute of limitations.
• Enterprises whose operation has been mandatorily suspended are entitled to a reduction of 40% of the rent for their premises for March and April. This measure also applies to leasing of movable or immovable assets solely for professional use. Employees, whose employment contract has been suspended, may enjoy the same reduction for the rent of their main residence, on the condition that they were employed at the time of implementation of the urgent measures.
• Statutory deadlines for submission of administrative appeals before the relevant administrative authorities are suspended for two months.
• Payment deadline of social security contributions of self-employed and freelance professionals for February and March 2020, payable by 31.03.2020 and 30.04.2020 respectively, is extended as described in the next paragraph.
• The aforementioned contributions shall be paid in four (4) equal monthly installments, the first of which must be paid by 30.09.2020. In case of late payment, the total amount shall be increased by interest rate.
• No interest or other surcharges due to late payment shall be incurred during that period.

Other Significant Measures

• According to Law 4675/2020, the manufacturing of antiseptic products by industrial companies on behalf of the Ministry of Health shall be exempt from VAT and the respective input VAT shall be deductible.
• The deadline for the submission of suppliers’ and customers’ list is extended until 30.06.2020, whereas corrections can be submitted until 31.07.2020.
• The deadlines of March and April 2020 for the submission of declarations of capital accumulation tax and stamp duty are extended for 2 months.
• The deadlines of March and April 2020 for the submission of declarations of inheritance tax, accessions tax, parental benefits’ tax and gambling tax are extended up to, and including, 29.05.2020.

Measures under Legislative Act 75/30.03.2020

Legislative Act 75/30.03.2020 was published on 31 March 2020 introducing new measures, the most significant of which are summarized here below:
• 25% discount on installments of debts assessed for the affected businesses and individuals, payable from 30 March 2020 to 30 April 2020, provided they are paid on time.
• Suspension of deadlines for presentation and payment of securities; from 30 March 2020 to 31 May 2020, deadlines for expiration, appearance and payment of securities shall be suspended for seventy-five (75) days from the date indicated on such securities. This measure concerns businesses which have either mandatorily suspended their activity or have severely been affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
• Enterprises financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may be granted financial aid in whole or in part in the form of a “repayable advance payment”. Details will be provided by virtue of Ministerial Decision which is expected to be published.
• Arrangements for suspension of time limits in the Tax Procedure Code:
– The notification of temporary or final tax or fine corrective assessment issued in accordance with the provisions of Law 4174/2013 is suspended until 30 April 2020.
– The deadline for taxpayers to submit their objections to temporary tax or fine corrective assessment is suspended, as specified in the Legislative Act.
– The time-limits for lodging an administrative appeal or application for suspension pursuant to Tax Procedure Code, which expired or will expire on or after 11 March 2020 till 31 May 2020 is suspended for sixty (60) days.
• The government may transmit the affected borrowers’ data to credit institutions upon their request, solely for the purpose of borrowers’ financial relief.
• Deadline for publication of annual report of issuers of shares listed on Athens Stock Exchange is extended until 30 June 2020.
• The commencement of operation of the Central Registry of Beneficial Owners is suspended for at least three (3) months.
• Self-employed and freelancers are granted a 25% reduction of their social security contributions, provided they pay the contributions for February and March within the respective deadline.
• The loan obligations of the affected debtors that have settled their debts through the law for the protection of primary residence and extrajudicial mechanism, which (obligations) expire at the end of the month, are automatically suspended for three months. This measure applies to companies that have mandatorily suspended their operations and employees whose employment agreement has been suspended and will receive the €800 subsidy.