One toe in the swamp

For discussion, news, comments, questions and information about Crete & Greece.
Sinkingslowly
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 6:48 pm

One toe in the swamp

Postby Sinkingslowly » Wed May 10, 2017 10:41 pm

OK, so I'm thinking of retiring to Crete.
I've been a good boy and done lots of searching on the interweb and read a lot of pages (some more helpful than others) and I am starting to have an idea of the amount of bureaucracy that I'm stumbling into.

Tax number, residence permit, bank account, driving licence etc etc.

Assuming that Brexit doesn't change things much does anyone know of a single guide that lists the order in which things need to be done?

For example, assuming that I'm nearly at retirement age and I'm flying in with a suitcase and a (small) wad of cash intending to buy an old car, rent somewhere to stay for a few months, or longer, with the intention to find a place to buy.

Do I need a Greek bank account before I can rent or do I need tax number to get a bank account or a resident permit and a tax number to buy an old car?

I've seen different versions of each of these scenarios but not an actual timeline/flowchart of what to do first.

Or am I asking too much?

TweetTweet
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:35 am

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby TweetTweet » Thu May 11, 2017 6:57 am

I think a tax number has to be your first "acquisition" - you (should) then be able to open a bank account, buy a car and get a Resident's Permit.

Why not invest the small amount of cash and buy Carol Palioudaki's book

http://www.livingincrete.net/

Kilkis
Posts: 8910
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby Kilkis » Thu May 11, 2017 7:33 am

I'd second TweetTweet's recommendation. Buy Carol's bible.

You need a tax number in order to do most things, e.g. open a bank account, buy a car, rent a house/apartment (legally), buy a Greek phone/SIM etc, so that has to be high priority. Once you have a Greek tax number you have to fill in a Greek tax return each year. When you get the tax number you have to be registered either as tax resident or non-tax resident. Tax resident means you have to declare your worldwide income and pay tax on it in Greece. Most people try to remain non-resident. If you are non-resident you have to have a Greek representative and all correspondence will go to that representative, not to your own address. I would say the first step, therefore, is to get a good accountant well versed in ex-pat tax affairs, use them as the representative and get them to help you get the tax number to ensure you get it right. Get it wrong and you could finish up in deep doggy doos.

Be aware that there are still strict capital controls in Greece so it isn't particularly easy to open a bank account. I've not tried recently but I have been told that you have to deposit at lest €10,000. They don't want Greeks opening multiple accounts to get round the withdrawal restrictions. They will also want lots of documentation.

I am not sure if it still applies but I think if you buy certain items, e.g. a house, a car, a boat etc, you will need to prove where the money came from and the tax office will only accept a certificate from the Greek bank that you transferred money into from abroad. Simply arriving with a bag of cash and depositing it may not be a good idea. The accountant will advise you.

To get a residence certificate you need to prove that you have income, healthcare and somewhere to live so you will need to rent somewhere, preferably with a legal contract drawn up on the official form and registered with the tax office, before applying. You don't need one for most things but buying a car is potentially easier if you have one.

No need to change your driving licence provided you have a relative/friend in the UK who you trust and who is prepared to let you use their address. Most people I know keep a UK driving licence. That might be affected by Brexit. The EU regulations allow you to drive on any EU licence but once the UK leaves the EU the UK licence will no longer be an EU licence. What happens then is anybody's guess.

Warwick

Mackie
Posts: 70
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 1:08 pm
Location: Cheshire / Hersonissos

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby Mackie » Thu May 11, 2017 12:23 pm

I found out that it all depends on which office you go to on what day and who you go with. No rules really apply!!
Tax Number is the key which in our case was very quick to obtain by walking into the municipality with the forms filled by the Accountant and our signature verified by the Citizen advice office. Everywhere you go, they are mainly interested in your Tax Number, nothing else (in our case).
With capital control, You can transfer 100% of the money you bring from abroad within Greece between banks or organisations with no questions asked, you can withdraw 30% in cash from your bank with no questions asked(I have tested this), you can withdraw 840 Euros each every two weeks from ATM with a 700 max daily allowance (Again, I have tested that recently).
Everyone I came across prefers to deal in cash due to the capital control.

As everyone on here said many times, An Accountant and Lawyer are must!!
If anyone is interested in a Lawyer in the Heraklion Area, I can recommend a great one that speaks excellent English and was educated in the UK. I am yet to test our accountant so can't recommend him as yet despite hearing good stuff about him. Time will tell I am sure!
Good luck

filippos
Posts: 5352
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:38 pm
Location: Kalyves
Contact:

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby filippos » Thu May 11, 2017 2:48 pm

Mackie wrote:....... you can withdraw 840 Euros each every two weeks ...........
Assuming a joint account and there's a potential drawback if you only have one such account.
Anyone qualified for (Greek) state healthcare can obtain a subsidy for things like new spectacles (up to about €100). When/if it's eventually paid (I've been waiting about a year) it will be credited directly to your bank account BUT if that's a joint account the recipient of the payment must be first named account holder. When my wife made her claim we had to open a new account either solely in her name or as first named on a second joint account.

Kilkis
Posts: 8910
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby Kilkis » Thu May 11, 2017 4:48 pm

filippos wrote:
Mackie wrote:....... you can withdraw 840 Euros each every two weeks ...........
Assuming a joint account ...


It doesn't have to be a joint account. I now have an account in my own name and I can draw €840 every two weeks. Each owner of a joint account can draw out €840 every two weeks. Also, I have two accounts and can withdraw €840 from each account every two weeks.

I agree with the issue of "first named" only being able to receive any payments from the government.

Warwick

filippos
Posts: 5352
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:38 pm
Location: Kalyves
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Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby filippos » Thu May 11, 2017 8:12 pm

Mackie said "you can withdraw 840 Euros each.." as Mackie had not specifically stated a joint a/c I was simply clarifying/emphasising it has to be joint a/c for 'each' to apply as a lead in to my point about a potential minor drawback. A bit pedantic, maybe but.........

BST
Posts: 325
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:29 pm

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby BST » Thu May 11, 2017 9:17 pm

Agree with most of this but you don't necessarily need a residents permit to buy a car. There are ways around this if you buy from certain places. Good luck!

Sinkingslowly
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 6:48 pm

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby Sinkingslowly » Thu May 11, 2017 10:38 pm

TweetTweet wrote:Why not invest the small amount of cash and buy Carol Palioudaki's book


I was thinking of ordering this book and I will after reading the recommendations.

My only doubt was that Amazon give the publication date as 2006 and I was unsure if some of the bureaucracy info would still be relevant.

Does anyone know if there is a newer version?

Kilkis
Posts: 8910
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby Kilkis » Thu May 11, 2017 11:01 pm

The book itself hasn't been updated but the information is updated on the main Living in Crete site. The book gives you the overall framework. The main site gives you updates where information in the book has changed. The forum allows you to ask specific questions that fit your particular situation.

Warwick

KateD
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat May 14, 2016 9:41 pm

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby KateD » Fri May 12, 2017 2:41 pm

As newbies we weren't allowed to open a joint account ( due to capital controls they said?!?!?!) However we could get one each ........

Guy M
Posts: 203
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:20 pm
Location: Kalamitsi Alexandrou

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby Guy M » Sat May 13, 2017 10:27 pm

The best advice we ever had was to get a decent lawyer. As others have also recommended in other posts, we went with Kostas at http://www.propertylaw.gr/ and we have never been disappointed and often delighted by his charm and good sense. He's been our lawyer for 17 years now.

filippos
Posts: 5352
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:38 pm
Location: Kalyves
Contact:

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby filippos » Sun May 14, 2017 7:26 am

Guy M wrote:The best advice we ever had was to get a decent lawyer. As others have also recommended in other posts, we went with Kostas at http://www.propertylaw.gr/ and we have never been disappointed and often delighted by his charm and good sense. He's been our lawyer for 17 years now.
Ditto!

Kilkis
Posts: 8910
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby Kilkis » Sun May 14, 2017 9:03 am

Guy M wrote:The best advice we ever had was to get a decent lawyer...


I completely agree but with one proviso. Many people get a lawyer first. They find they need a tax number so they let the lawyer arrange that for them. The lawyer then becomes the Greek representative on the tax registration and any future documentation will be sent to him/her. I know many people for whom this has caused significant problems. When it comes to tax the best person to deal with it is an accountant so I would recommend getting a good accountant first, let the accountant register you for a tax number and become your Greek representative and then get a good lawyer.

Warwick

mouche
Posts: 564
Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:43 pm

Re: One toe in the swamp

Postby mouche » Sun May 14, 2017 10:18 am

We have left everything and I mean everything to our lawyer to work out and solve and this has worked fine with us for six years now.


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