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Old 30.05.2013, 11:48
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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For example I earn 40.000 SFR in Switzerland and I pay my taxes for it in Switzerland. Now, regardless of any possible income inside Greece, Greek goverment wants to tax me for that 40.000 again. How is that in line with the double taxation treaties.. perhaps you would like to elaborate on it.
Not quite, they want to tax you the difference, as if you had earned the money in Greece.
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Old 30.05.2013, 11:53
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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I repeat what the Greek goverment wants to do at the moment is to tax my income which has already been taxed in Switzerland, violating it's own billateral agreements. It's not even a law, it's just an instruction/order from the ministry.
So, in other words they are following the lead of the US, who has been doing this for decades (if not longer).

Tom
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  #23  
Old 30.05.2013, 12:07
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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Not quite, they want to tax you the difference, as if you had earned the money in Greece.
Indeed, but Michalis is right anyway : for this level of income, Swiss withholding tax is a very very small amount (in Schwyz, where I live, it's 1.53% if you're single, 0.36% if you're married and zero if you have a child.

So assuming he's single, for CHF 40000 Michalis would have paid CHF 612 here. In Greece for income earned in 2011 (taxes are even higher now) I had to pay around 35% for an annual salary of around EUR 38000 (around CHF 45600), i.e. the tax was around EUR 13300 / CHF 16000 --and that's married with two children, as a single the tax was even higher. So in effect he would have to pay (almost) the full amount.

An amusing (for people outside Greece) and infuriating (for Greeks) fact is that with the latest tax amendmends the tax benefit for children is gone: if your income is very low, you might even you have to pay more if you have kids !

Go figure.
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Old 30.05.2013, 12:07
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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Not quite, they want to tax you the difference, as if you had earned the money in Greece.
Indeed, it has already been mentioned a couple of times in the thread.

One should understand that 3000 euro in Switzerland is a low-average salary and is being taxed accordingly. When this amount is to be taxed in Greece it is considered "elite" and is being taxed accordingly (38% I think, compared to 8-10% in Switzerland). So one has to "struggle" in Switzerland with that amount of money and also has to pay an amazing amount of Tax in Greece despite the tax treaties. That's the whole point of the thread.

edit: dandraka was faster!

Last edited by michalis83; 30.05.2013 at 12:08. Reason: seen above
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Old 30.05.2013, 12:07
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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So, in other words they are following the lead of the US, who has been doing this for decades (if not longer).

Tom
Really? I thought the US only levied taxes once you earnt over a certain amount.
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Old 30.05.2013, 13:45
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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Geia sou Michali,

The double taxation treaty between GR and CH means that GR income is taxed in GR and CH income is taxed in CH. This is irrespective of how many days per year you spend in which country.
...
Not quite accurate. For income from salary maybe, but not for everything. Eg think bank interest, you pay tax for it where you live, not where you earn it (ie where the bank is).

Moreover, if you have large incomes in both countries, the total can be split proporionally to both countries, eg 40% goes to GR, 60% to CH, regardless. Look up repartition internationale if you are interested to find out more.

Also, notwithstanding the double-taxation treaty, there is nothing preventing 2 countries for creating domestic laws which say that you are condisered resident (for tax purposes) in both. If the treaty can help solve the deadlock (tie-break) then ok, otherwise can be messy and may end up paying in two places. This is quite common between countries where the tax years are not aligned (eg one country does not use calendar year for tax year). http://www.us.kpmg.com/microsite/tax.../article06.htm

In other words, in the treaty text (art 15) you quoted, ""salaries, wages and other similar remuneration derived by a resident of a Contracting State in respect of an employment shall be taxable only in that State unless the employment is exercised in the other Contracting State", the key word is "resident of a Contracting state", becasue (art 4) says 'resident' means "resident according to the laws of that country". So it is possible that both countries want you their resident, so the treaty article which eliminates double taxation does not apply in the obvious way.

In your case, if you say all you have is a CH salary and live in CH, there should be no problem paying 0 in GR. You probably dont need to submit a tax return. Your claim about "5 year rule" only applies when you continue to have "significant financial interests in GR after you've left". The best advice is to get a GR accountant to sort it out. It is an easy / straightforward case, despite what you were told.

Last edited by slingb; 30.05.2013 at 13:59.
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Old 30.05.2013, 16:36
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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Not quite accurate. For income from salary maybe, but not for everything. Eg think bank interest, you pay tax for it where you live, not where you earn it (ie where the bank is).

Moreover, if you have large incomes in both countries, the total can be split proporionally to both countries, eg 40% goes to GR, 60% to CH, regardless. Look up repartition internationale if you are interested to find out more.

Also, notwithstanding the double-taxation treaty, there is nothing preventing 2 countries for creating domestic laws which say that you are condisered resident (for tax purposes) in both. If the treaty can help solve the deadlock (tie-break) then ok, otherwise can be messy and may end up paying in two places. This is quite common between countries where the tax years are not aligned (eg one country does not use calendar year for tax year). http://www.us.kpmg.com/microsite/tax.../article06.htm

In other words, in the treaty text (art 15) you quoted, ""salaries, wages and other similar remuneration derived by a resident of a Contracting State in respect of an employment shall be taxable only in that State unless the employment is exercised in the other Contracting State", the key word is "resident of a Contracting state", becasue (art 4) says 'resident' means "resident according to the laws of that country". So it is possible that both countries want you their resident, so the treaty article which eliminates double taxation does not apply in the obvious way.

In your case, if you say all you have is a CH salary and live in CH, there should be no problem paying 0 in GR. You probably dont need to submit a tax return. Your claim about "5 year rule" only applies when you continue to have "significant financial interests in GR after you've left". The best advice is to get a GR accountant to sort it out. It is an easy / straightforward case, despite what you were told.
Thanks for the useful info slingb. Yes, as you've guessed, I was referring to Michalis' apparently simple case where there is no income from Greece and in Switzerland there's only a salary. No interest, no stocks, no dividends etc etc.

Obvs it's the most straightforward case but I think the main problem that Michalis is facing, and so have a number of my friends, is an ignorant and/or hostile public sector employee. These days, a friend of mine is going through the procedure of declaring the change of his tax residence to the greek tax office (we have to present a couple of documents for that, one from the greek embassy and one from the cantonal tax office). The tax officer, in Edessa if memory serves, is refusing, citing various ridiculus reasons (e.g. "how do you know that you will spend more than 183 days in Switzerland, it's still May", never mind that he lives and has his job there).
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  #28  
Old 30.05.2013, 17:00
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Just to add. The tie breaker in the treaty solves this as residence/center of interest and habitual abode all apply before nationality. So the OP is considered resident under the treaty (as long as he stays in CH/ outside Greece for more than 183 days).

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Not quite accurate. For income from salary maybe, but not for everything. Eg think bank interest, you pay tax for it where you live, not where you earn it (ie where the bank is).

Moreover, if you have large incomes in both countries, the total can be split proporionally to both countries, eg 40% goes to GR, 60% to CH, regardless. Look up repartition internationale if you are interested to find out more.

Also, notwithstanding the double-taxation treaty, there is nothing preventing 2 countries for creating domestic laws which say that you are condisered resident (for tax purposes) in both. If the treaty can help solve the deadlock (tie-break) then ok, otherwise can be messy and may end up paying in two places. This is quite common between countries where the tax years are not aligned (eg one country does not use calendar year for tax year). http://www.us.kpmg.com/microsite/tax.../article06.htm

In other words, in the treaty text (art 15) you quoted, ""salaries, wages and other similar remuneration derived by a resident of a Contracting State in respect of an employment shall be taxable only in that State unless the employment is exercised in the other Contracting State", the key word is "resident of a Contracting state", becasue (art 4) says 'resident' means "resident according to the laws of that country". So it is possible that both countries want you their resident, so the treaty article which eliminates double taxation does not apply in the obvious way.

In your case, if you say all you have is a CH salary and live in CH, there should be no problem paying 0 in GR. You probably dont need to submit a tax return. Your claim about "5 year rule" only applies when you continue to have "significant financial interests in GR after you've left". The best advice is to get a GR accountant to sort it out. It is an easy / straightforward case, despite what you were told.
This is what you see a lot. Local tax officers simply have no experience (at all) in cross border cases.

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Thanks for the useful info slingb. Yes, as you've guessed, I was referring to Michalis' apparently simple case where there is no income from Greece and in Switzerland there's only a salary. No interest, no stocks, no dividends etc etc.

Obvs it's the most straightforward case but I think the main problem that Michalis is facing, and so have a number of my friends, is an ignorant and/or hostile public sector employee. These days, a friend of mine is going through the procedure of declaring the change of his tax residence to the greek tax office (we have to present a couple of documents for that, one from the greek embassy and one from the cantonal tax office). The tax officer, in Edessa if memory serves, is refusing, citing various ridiculus reasons (e.g. "how do you know that you will spend more than 183 days in Switzerland, it's still May", never mind that he lives and has his job there).

Last edited by 3Wishes; 02.12.2014 at 19:29. Reason: merging successive posts
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  #29  
Old 30.05.2013, 17:21
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

Ah, you've been AMERICANED! Welcome to the double taxation club.

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Old 03.06.2013, 10:08
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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Really? I thought the US only levied taxes once you earnt over a certain amount.
Provided you fill out the correct forms.

Tom
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Old 04.06.2013, 19:13
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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So, in other words they are following the lead of the US, who has been doing this for decades (if not longer).

Tom
This led to me to the idea that this is the real goal of the EU automatic information exchange. Not only Greece, but EU has the goal to max up taxes for each and every citizen. In order to make it efficient, they just need financial citizen data. Following US lead.
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  #32  
Old 02.12.2014, 13:10
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

WOW, this thread came up via a Google search.
Wouldn't have thought to look for other Greeks on this forum.

@michalis83
Have you managed to get the necessary documents to get everything done in Greece?
In theory things became easier this summer since Greece tax authorities realized they were going to be sued to some European court for trying to tax Greek citizens for their income in other EU countries (+EFTA).

Now they are asking me for a document whose purpose is specifically to help you avoid double taxation. They don't like the generic tax certificate from the Vaud Tax Office in Lausanne.

I don't even live in CH any more but I'm still trying to make Greece accept my 2012 and 2013 tax declarations.
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Old 02.12.2014, 19:21
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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Now they are asking me for a document whose purpose is specifically to help you avoid double taxation. They don't like the generic tax certificate from the Vaud Tax Office in Lausanne.
Actually if they are asking for two they are right

As per the double taxation treaty and the normal procedure, you do need two documents:
  1. The document for avoidance of double taxation, signed by the cantonal tax office.
  2. A confirmation that you live and work (or in your case, lived and worked) in CH. You get this from the gemeinde (city) authority, and IIRC it also has to be signed by the greek embassy or consulate.
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Old 02.12.2014, 20:33
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

Thanks for answering.
When you say "signed by the cantonal tax office", you mean that they will also provide it to me, or that they will only sign it? And who will provide it to me if not them?
I think the second thing you mention is somewhere in the bunch of documents they already have. This nightmare has been going on for years, with them making up new things to ask for every time! But last time they told my tax specialist that the only thing still missing is that double tax avoidance thingy.
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Old 02.12.2014, 20:34
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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WOW, this thread came up via a Google search.
Wouldn't have thought to look for other Greeks on this forum.

@michalis83
Have you managed to get the necessary documents to get everything done in Greece?
In theory things became easier this summer since Greece tax authorities realized they were going to be sued to some European court for trying to tax Greek citizens for their income in other EU countries (+EFTA).

Now they are asking me for a document whose purpose is specifically to help you avoid double taxation. They don't like the generic tax certificate from the Vaud Tax Office in Lausanne.

I don't even live in CH any more but I'm still trying to make Greece accept my 2012 and 2013 tax declarations.

Hi Lewton.

I have managed to get it all done and I know belong to the "taxation office for foreign residents". The only paper I had to give them was a special "avoid double taxation" one. I had with me two papers from my Gemeinde, one was verifying that I was a resident where I live for the whole year and the other that I had all the taxes paid. Both were in German of course and since they didn't ask for them in the Greek taxation office I didn't bother translating them.

That said, a friend of mine wanted to make the same but his taxation office was asking for more papers, all of which had to be translated with he Hague
signature. I guess it has to do with the person you deal with, like most of the things in Greece.

If you want I can send you the paper I used. It was sent to me by the Greek embassy in Bern. It's a 2-sided paper with everything written in Greek and English. You have to fill it and get it stamped and signed at your Gemeinde. That might be an issue since you are not longer in Switzerland though. You will have to ask about it.

I hope I have been of some help.
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Old 02.12.2014, 21:00
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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...the paper I used...was sent to me by the Greek embassy in Bern. It's a 2-sided paper with everything written in Greek and English. You have to fill it and get it stamped and signed at your Gemeinde.
It's also available online:

http://www.gsis.gr/gsis/info/gsis_site/ddos/c_gr.html

Get the "other countries" pdf (ΑΛΛΕΣ ΧΩΡΕΣ). When you print it, make sure you print it double sided. Then a) fill it and b) get it to the cantonal (not city) tax office for them to sign.

I did it the following way: I filled it and then I called the cantonal tax office on the phone (they answer, unlike the greek ones ). I explained what I wanted and the gentleman gave me an address to send the document via post, which I did. Two weeks later, I had the document signed & stamped.

Last edited by dandraka; 02.12.2014 at 21:04. Reason: .
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Old 02.12.2014, 21:07
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

You have certainly helped.
Both of you.
I'll do it via post using my alias mail address in Geneva.


I stopped trying to get transferred to the special tax office for "people living abroad".
Since this summer the rules have changed so that you can* stay at your normal tax office, registered as living abroad, and not have to pay any extra taxes as long as you provide that document every year.
*Note that not only does this mean that you can do this, but that they encourage you to do so (in practice they will never approve your transfer to that special tax office). So you're lucky for having done that before the rules changed!
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Old 14.12.2014, 22:09
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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I did it the following way: I filled it and then I called the cantonal tax office on the phone (they answer, unlike the greek ones ). I explained what I wanted and the gentleman gave me an address to send the document via post, which I did. Two weeks later, I had the document signed & stamped.
Quick question.
You had it sent back to you signed and stamped. By stamped, do you mean stamped as per the Hague Treary (with the apostille)?
Or did you still have to get the apostille on it?

Thanks.
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Old 15.12.2014, 00:40
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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Quick question.
You had it sent back to you signed and stamped. By stamped, do you mean stamped as per the Hague Treary (with the apostille)?
Or did you still have to get the apostille on it?

Thanks.
Ummm... did the document from the cantonal tax office have the apostille ? I don't remember, sorry !

But I do remember that I didn't do anything after receiving it. I took it to the greek tax office exactly as it was.
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Old 15.12.2014, 01:08
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Re: Greece-Switzerland, double taxation mess.

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Ummm... did the document from the cantonal tax office have the apostille ? I don't remember, sorry !

But I do remember that I didn't do anything after receiving it. I took it to the greek tax office exactly as it was.
Thanks!
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