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Open a Representative Office in Greece

Open a Representative Office in Greece

A foreign company or another type of entity can open a representative office in Greece. A representative office, also referred to as a liaison office, is a type of establishment that is used for non-commercial purposes. 

Therefore, there are significant differences between a commercial company and a liaison office, but the process on company formation in Greece follows the same basic registration steps (the liaison office must be registered, obtain permits, register for employment, etc.). 

If you need in-depth information on how to register a representative officeour consultants in company registration in Greece can advise you and offer legal assistance. 

 Quick Facts  
 What is a liaison office   A liaison office (or a representative office) is a type of establishment that is set up by a foreign entity with the purpose of carrying out non-commercial activities (it can't generate profits).  

 Incorporation obligations 

 In order to open a representative office in Greece, investors must:

– obtain an approval from the Ministry of Development (issued as a permit);

– have a registered address in Greece;

– employ minimum 4 employees within the 1st year of activity.   

 Types of activities it can undertake  

A representative office can develop activities such as:

– consulting services;

– marketing services;

– advertising services;

– data processing;

– research and development, etc.   

 Have a registered office in Greece (yes/no)   Yes 
 Registration costs 

Outside the standard registration costs (incorporation, lawyers' fee, notary services), the representative office must have EUR 100,000 as yearly expenses.   

Capital requirements  

There are no capital requirements imposed to those who open a representative office in Greece.  

 Duration of the registration process 

Approximately 6 weeks.  

 Tax obligations  

 The entity is required to register for taxation, even though it is not a corporate income tax payer, because certain taxes will have to be paid on monthly/annual basis (for instance, employment taxes).  

 Reporting formalities (yes/no)  

Yes 

Institution in charge with the registration formalities     Ministry of Development, Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 
 Law applicable to liaison offices 

Investors can open a representative office in Greece following the regulations of the Law 89/1967. 

 Documents that must be submitted by the parent company 

 For the incorporation, the entity must conduct standard registration steps:

– submitting the parent company's statutory documents;

– presenting the registration certificate;

– providing information on the shareholders;

– submitting the statutory documents of the liaison office;

– oferring documents on its registered address in Greece, etc.    

 Licensing requirements 

 The liaision office must obtain a permit from the Ministry of Development. 

 Appointing an accountat (yes/no)  

Yes 

 Services offered by our team   Our consultants can assist foreign investors throughout the initial incorporation steps (the registration of the entity, completing immigration formalities for non-EU/EEA investors) as well as in other matters after the liaison office starts its activity (hiring foreign workforce, representing the office in front of the Greek institutions, reporting, etc).  

What are the characteristics of a Greek representative office?

First of all, the representative office is not allowed, as per the applicable law, to carry out any commercial activity. The main purpose of a liaison office is to act as an intermediary between a foreign company (that has founded the office) and local companies and/or Greek market

As such, it can only be used to represent the interests of the parent company on the local market, in matters as the ones mentioned below:

  1. establishing new contacts with local businesses; 
  2. analyzing the characteristics of the local market;
  3. developing marketing-related activities;
  4. act on behalf of the parent company abroad. 

The representative office in Greece is similar to a branch office in some aspects, in the sense that the parent company abroad is fully responsible for any matter related to the activities of the liaison office, which, just like the branch, lacks legal personality.  

With regards to the formalities that must be completed when it comes to company formation in Greece, the representative office must fulfill the following: 

  1. it must appoint a local representative;
  2. it must obtain a tax registration number issued by the Greek tax authorities;
  3. it must conclude certain tax reporting and accounting procedures.

Legal obligations of a Greek representative office

Besides the Greek company formation steps that are similar with the ones applicable to a commercial company, the representative office must comply with specific rules that are available only for this entity, as presented below: 

  • • it must follow the provisions of the Law 89/1967;
  • • it must obtain a permit which grants the authorization to operate in Greece, issued by the Ministry of Development in a period of approximately 2 months after the application;
  • • it can only develop activities that are prescribed under the Article 1 of the Law 89/1967 (it contains a list of 15 approved non-commercial activities);
  • • it is required have minimum EUR 100,000 as expenses on a yearly basis;
  • • it must open a corporate bank account in Greece, a procedure which can be completed in 4 weeks. 

Investors must know that the Law 89/1967 has been amended in 2019 with the purpose of updating certain legal aspects, including certain activities that have appeared since 1967 up until recent years (the list of 15 activities include the updates brought in 2019).

Please mind that our team of specialists in Greek company formation can provide legal representation on any of the above-mentioned steps involving institutions and other entities, through the power of attorney. 

Are there any employment obligations in Greece? 

All companies operating in Greece have certain employment obligations to comply with, regardless of their legal entity and regardless if they were incorporated by Greek investors or by foreign ones. 

This rule also applies to a representative office, which, according to the law, is required to hire 4 employees. The 4 employees must be hired with 1 year since the office obtained its permit to operate in Greece

It must be noted that 1 of the 4 employees can be hired on a part-time basis. There are other rules to comply with and our consultants in Greek company formation can provide more details.