As of 2020, 27.9% of the Greek population is self-employed. Freelancing as a means of earning is on the boom now worldwide. Connecting with people around the globe is very convenient, and you can provide your services to anyone wherever they are.
Scroll through to get to know more about freelancing in Greece.
Freelancing Vs Self-Employment
When starting work here in Greece, you will need to figure out if you want to be a self-employed trader or freelancer. Both procedures and requirements are different, and it will be beneficial if you plan.
A freelancer provides services to you on a contract basis. They do not work for any company, just for themselves. Greece is one of the countries that offer a digital nomad visa which permits you to live in Greece while you freelance for anyone around the world. Teachers, designers, software developers, and many more professions have a lot of people working as freelancers. You can also look up the legally registered freelance professions so that you get a better understanding of how it works.
If you’re not a freelancer, you will fall under the trade business category even if you have an online shop or deal via online platforms. You will need to register with the trade office to get the legalities out of the way. This will get you a trade license, so you can start dealing with your customers now.
Is Freelancing Allowed In Greece?
Yes, as long you have a work permit for it and fulfill all freelancing requirements, you can register yourself as one.
How To Obtain A Freelancing Visa In Greece?
The whole visa and work permit process depends on where you come from. At times both of these terms are used interchangeably, but you will have to look into it to be sure.
A freelancing visa lets people of specific nationalities enter the said country with the intention of you freelancing for work here.
A freelancing work permit allows you to stay in the country and live there long term to make an earning for yourself through freelancing.
Who Needs No Freelance Visa Or Work Permit?
If you are an EU or an EEA citizen or living in the Schengen area, you do not need any specific visa or work permit to start freelancing in Greece.
Who Only Needs A Residence Permit?
You do not need a visa to enter Greece if you live in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and the Republic of Korea. You can travel there as a tourist and apply for a residence permit for freelancing in your first few months of stay here.
Who Needs A Freelance Visa And A Residence Permit?
If you are from any other country than the ones mentioned beforehand, you will need to apply for a freelance or self-employment visa first. After you get that, you will need to apply for a residence permit within three months.
You must go to the Greek embassy and the immigration office for the residence permit process.
Requirements For A Freelancing Visa In Greece
The documents required to apply for a digital nomad visa.
- An Application Form: You can download it from the governments official website.
- A valid passport. The required passport validity for a Greek digital nomad visa is a minimum of three months after the expiry of the visa.
- Two Passport Photos: Your passport must be in color and taken with a white background. The dimensions of the photos must be the standard 2 x 2 inches (51 x 51 mm).
- Proof Of Employment: To prove your employment is authentic, you need to submit your employment contract and a letter stating you can complete your work using technology.
- A Declaration Letter: You must disclose that you plan to apply for the Greece DNV and work remotely in Greece. You must declare that you will not work for any Greek company during your stay and provide all relevant info about your job/company and your financial information.
- Proof Of Financial Means: You have to give a proof of your finances through recent bank account statements, whether they are company account statements, or a job contract that states your salary, or other documents.
- Proof Of Accommodation: You can prove your accommodation with a rental agreement, a hotel booking, or a lease.
- Valid Health Insurance: It would help if you had health insurance that covers all the costs during your travel and your stay in Greece.
- A Valid Return Flight Ticket: The return ticket that will prove that you will return to your country after your stay in Greece.
- Certificate Of A Clean Criminal Record: You can get this at the local police department.
- A Medical Certificate: You can get your medical insurance from a recognized medical institution in your country.
How To Register As A Freelancer In Greece
Once you land in Greece, you will have to register your address here and get your residence permit. Then you will need to apply with the tax authorities. As a freelancer, you will be required to pay your income tax in advance. This amount will be offset when you submit your annual income report.
VAT Tax, Yes Or No?
If you are self-employed or a freelancer working in Greece, you are liable to pay VAT taxes here. There is no VAT threshold for freelancers, so you must register for it if you:
- Sell or supply any goods that are applicable to VAT.
- Import goods into Greece
- Organize events in the country
- Supply Greek-made products to other countries.
There are four different tax rates here, and freelancers charge their clients according to their selling service.
- The Standard Rate of 24% – Unless the items or services you offer are in the reduced or zero-rate category; you should charge the standard VAT rate of 24%.
- The Reduced Rate of 13% – Applies to items such as several food products, hotel accommodations, domestic care for young elderly sick, cinema tickets, farming supplies, certain pharmaceutical products, electricity, etc.
- The Reduced Rate of 6% – Applies to some books, medicines for human use, vaccines, music, electrical energy, natural gas, district heating, walking stick, braille typewriters, etc.
- Zero VAT Rate (0%) – The services that fall under the 0% VAT rate are public service operations, gambling, insurance transactions, property leases, supply of hospital services, international passenger transport, etc. Although there are no charges on zero rates, you should record sales of goods and services and create a report based on your returns.
How Much Tax Do Freelancers Pay In Greece?
If you spend less than six months in Greece as a freelancer, you won’t have to pay taxes. However, if you spend more than that here, you will fall into the tax bracket and have to pay income taxes. Greece has a progressive income tax rate.
- With a monthly income below €12,00 – no income tax
- From €12,00 up to €16,000 – 18% income tax
- From €16,000 to €22,000 – 24% income tax
- From €22,000 to €26,000 – 26% income tax
- From €26,000 to €32,000 – 32% income tax
- From €32,000 to €40,000 – 36% income tax
- From €40,000 to €60,000 – 38% income tax
- From €60,000 to €100,000 – 40% income tax
- Over €100,000 – 45% income tax
In addition, Greece has introduced a 50% reduction tax program. You will have to pay half the rate. You can apply for the 50% reduction tax when you stay in Greece for a minimum of two years.
Accounting For Freelancers In Greece
Let’s take a lot at accounting and bookkeeping in Greece
Bookkeeping And Invoices In Greece
When freelancing in Greece, you will need to keep all of your finances in check. You will need to keep things organized, as this will help you later on when submitting invoices for all of them. You will need to keep a record of all your invoices, receipts, and bank account overviews for ten years, as you can be audited anytime.
Your invoice will need to have the following:
- The business name and address of the customer
- Your full name and address
- Date of invoice
- Number of invoices
- Freelance tax number
- You and your customers’ VAT number
- The service you gave
- The total amount
- The total price and due date of it
Banking For Freelancers In Greece
Maintaining and managing finances is a tough task, especially for someone who manages all aspects of a business. With so many options available for financial services, choosing one might look like a daunting task. Avoiding this decision might be a wrong decision in a few months. Having a separate bank account for your work keeps things in check.
- Separation Of Professional And Personal Finances
Staying organized is essential for a freelancer, as you have to keep an eye on what you are spending, investing, and earning. This is for your good. You can give your business account details to your clients, and things will be professional. This leaves a good impression on your clients, which plays a vital role in today’s freelancing industry. You can transfer a fixed amount to your account for spending, like a salary, to manage expenses better.
- Taxes And Accounting
Keeping track of all your business expenses will help you manage things better. You will save a lot of time, and the hassle of separating finances for taxes will be foregone. At the end of each financial year, you must declare your taxes and provide your financial documents to the tax office in Greece. Imagine if your expenses were mixed with your ones, it wouldn’t be any good. Some better banks offer you services like calculating your taxes automatically, which is a relief at the end of the day. You can even send final invoices to the finance office automatically through the bank. It would help if you also kept in mind that not filing your taxes properly has a hefty penalty.
- Terms And Conditions Of Banks
Almost all private checking accounts are for personal use, as suggested by their name. You can get in trouble for violating your bank’s terms and conditions if you conduct business transactions through a personal account. So for all these reasons, getting a separate one for work is best.
Insurances For Freelancers In Greece
When living in Greece, some types of insurance are a must-have. You should get other ones for your private work life.
Health Insurance For Freelancers In Greece
If you want to live in Greece, you must have health insurance. People employed by someone else must pay just half of their insurance premium; the company pays the rest. But as a freelancer, you will need to pay 100% of the insurance by yourself.
If you moved to Greece as a freelancer or have been living here before and just shifted to freelancing, you can choose public or private insurance. That is completely your choice.
Depending on your profession, you will choose what type of insurance premium you want to go for and what aspects you want to cover in your insurance. At times, firms will act as your employer and pay half of the insurance. If it applies to you, you will need to look this up.
Professional Liability Insurance For Freelancers
Today’s self-employed professionals face many challenges. The economic environment asserts pressure on their work and, consequently, their financial status and flexibility. In this environment with increasing demands, Professional Liability Insurance becomes a valuable and necessary tool for every self-employed professional.
This insurance covers any damage you might accidentally cause to a customer through your service. The need for this depends on what your profession is. You are legally obliged to have professional liability insurance as a doctor, lawyer, or pharmacist.
There are different packages for this too. They cover your service, the company, the electronics, and cybercrime. You get to pick what you want to insure.
Social Contributions For Freelancers In Greece
Taken directly from the law that has been passed:
‘The introduction of a new system of social contributions for freelancers, farmers, and self-employed persons. As of January 2020, freelancers’, farmers’, and self-employed persons’ social insurance contributions are no longer linked to their declared income. Each freelancer, farmer, and the self-employed person has to choose amongst six social insurance categories, each corresponding to predefined amounts for the contributory (primary) pension and healthcare. For those freelancers and self-employed persons with less than five years of insurance, a special (lower) social insurance category is foreseen.’
As of 2020, the lowest monthly contribution will begin at 210 euros, and the highest will be at 566 euros. All new professionals will enjoy favorable terms in the first five years of service, with a contribution of 126 euros.
Participation in the supplementary pension scheme is mandatory for the self-employed in the “liberal professions” (except doctors). In contrast, for other self-employed freelancers and farmers, participation is voluntary.
Fictitious Self-Employment Is In Greece
When working as a freelancer in Greece, you must have more than one client. Otherwise, you might get in trouble with the tax authorities for being a fictitious self-employer. This would mean you will have to pay back all the taxes and other finances linked to the one client. To stay on the safe side, you must ensure that one client does not give you more than ⅚ of the revenue you are generating.
Is Freelancing Possible While Being Employed In Greece
In a lot of cases, you can freelance while being employed somewhere else. But it is an excellent option to check it out with your employer at first or see your employment contract. There might be some rules or guidelines mentioned in there. It is often mentioned if it is not allowed. Freelancing helps one decide if it is something that would suit them or not.
A full-time job helps while freelancing as well as it provides a steady and stable source of income. As a freelancer, you will also need to clear out your availability and expectations with your clients so that you avoid any issues later. This will also affect the taxes that you pay, of course.
So that was all you will need to know about freelancing in Greece and how to go about all the logistics of it. Depending on your profession, you can decide whether or not freelancing would be a suitable option for you. You can see the Greek government’s website or contact them regarding specific queries. For insurance and tax details, you should also get in touch with the professionals. They will guide you best.