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Society Boils but Politicians Won’t Listen: A Swan Song for Greece?

Is this a swan song we’ve been listening here? A song sung by a corrupt political system and a society in despair? No, it’s not. Because the swan song is supposed to be beautiful even though the last one before death. But what we’re experiencin ghere is ungly. And I wouldn’t know a metapher to describe such a situation. Are we now seeing the notorius “social unrests” they warned us about? Protesting workers storm the ministry of national defence. Society groups are trying to meet with the political leadership whihc is absent. Politicians in a country in deep economic and social crisis are not available.

 Workers without salaries, disabled without social welfare, pensioners without medication. They storm the ministries in order to meet with those responsible. In best case, they can have a short chat and submit their demands. In worst case, they can get slammed by the minister in charge, describing them as “thugs”.

Our elected politicians and holders of government posts are absent. They have nothing to offer to society groups that forward demands in order to make ends meet and survive the next month. Our elected politicians rule over our present and future with the arrogance and ignorance of a well-paid breed towards a jobless and a homeless.

The scandals of the lists containing the names of several thousands big scale tax dodgers, come and go. Appear and disappear. Some striking examples are given as PR- food to cheer the hungry and desperate. It doesn’t work, guys! It doesn’t! Publicity tricks will not save a corrupt system in collapse!

USB sticks with notorious Lagarde-list stay as decorative trinkets on secretaries’ desks* apparently for years. “The stick was on my secretary’s desk as item, ” PASOK-leader and coalition government partner Evangelos Venizelos told private Mega TV last night. He was trying to explain why he didn’t hand over the stick to the authorities earlier and justify his way of dealing with a usb-stick with 1,991 names of alleged tax evaders. Last night, thousands of Greeks thought, visibly angry and conspicuously distressed Venizelos was about to get a brain or a heart stroke. A high ranking politician, a former Finance Minister caught inflagranti unable to deal with the hot potato of combating tax evasion.

The former FinMin of a broke country, where average Joe Greek gets his phone line cut for 50 euro debt and his electricity abolished for debts of 400 euro. Not to mention the cases, where loan tranches or debts to the state get directly deducted from salaries or pensions. Of the Joe Greek with annual gross income of 10,000-20,000 euro.

The names of politicians involved in alleged corruption scandals get ‘cleared’ within ten days. Parliament Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis resumed office today, after the Financial Crime Units (SDOE) declared, his income declarations were OK.

Big scale tax dodgers keep their assets abroad, while the new tsunami of austerity measures are going to cut again grandpa’s pension and the income of Joe Greek family with children. Just to mention two examples. The new taxation law -currently being worked out- will benefit earners of 60-plus thousands euro. But those with annual income of 26,000 euro will be taxed with 35%.

Men and woman without hope commit suicide on a daily basis. On Wednesday a man set his legs on fire. The father of four was demanding his payment of 16,000 euro by a private company. A woman tried to put an end to her life in her husband’s car. Both were saved at the last moment. For others, every help comes too late.

Social injustice triggers social unrest. Who is so bold to expect something different? Who does live in such a huge protective bubble to believe that Greeks will swallow without reaction these incredible things happening every day?

This morning unpaid workers at Skaramangas shipyards stormed the National Defence Ministry. The Chief of General Staff went down to speak with them, while the political leadership was absent. The protest was announced in advance. Everybody knew a protest would take place, but no one cared to make a plan to deal with the issue. “Crisis management”, we call this. One policeman had to deal with 450 angry workers. The Minister had to attend some Navy celebrations. No wonder, the angry protesters could storm the ministry and expose the naked king.

A political system in crisis ruling a country in crisis. A cabinet of dilentante politicians. What are they doing the whole day? Chat with the Troika about the new austerity package?

As for the Prime Minister…? “He  is concerned about his government partner Venizelos and PASOK” he had his aides leak to the press and left for Paris to speak in a meeting organized by an international newspaper.

 Who else is protesting today? Doctors and personnel at state hospitals in Athens and Piraeus. Members of public and private sector unions. They went to see the Labour Minister but he was somewhere in Luxembourg – to attend a conference, a congress, a constructive meeting I suppose… Farmers in Crete got on their tractors and launched a protest march. 

The clue of a cynical political system: our ministers believe that workers and employees should not raise demands on payments.

When labour is not being compensated in money form, the decline of the country is not far.

PS It would take hours to put all the necessary links, therefore just click KTG’s categories “Society”, Politics” and “Economy”.

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  1. Great analyses. I totally agree with it.
    On small personal addition: It’s not only the Joe Greek this government is stealing from. Many small businesses are still waiting for thousands of euro in vat-returns, to name just one example. That’s now going on for several years. The state owes me also thousands of euro in this way. We just know we will never ever gonna get it. In inter-business affairs you first pay the VAT and then get it back. That too goes for international business deals.
    But as the Government is not keeping up it’s end of the bargain, guess what we will do from now on?

  2. Many small businesses are still waiting for thousands of euro in vat-returns, to name just one example…In inter-business affairs you first pay the VAT and then get it back. That too goes for international business deals.

    This does not really tally with the way the VAT system should work. VAT is an EU wide consumer tax, and the one who ultimately ends up paying is the end user, like KTG buying washing powder etc. All the stages in between are only collection steps.
    If you are VAT registered, all that means is that you are an authorized VAT collector, while you still pay VAT. What you hand over to the government at the end of the VAT return period (1 month, 2 months, 6 months, depending on local regulations) is the DIFFERENCE between VAT paid and VAT collected. If that difference is in your favour, then you should get a VAT refund, but many governments, instead of refunding, to put that down as a credit against future VAT payments. If you keep registering VAT returns in your favour, you automatically lose your VAT registration after a certain amount of time, again depending on local regulations, and you end up simply paying VAT without the possibility to collect. You also lose any VAT credits you may have. If you are not VAT registered, you are not entitled to a VAT refund, ever.
    In international business, there are a few different scenarios possible. If both you and your counterpart are within the EU, and both are VAT registered in your respective countries, then no VAT is charged or paid. If either one of you is not VAT registered in your own country, then VAT must be charged by the seller at the rate in the seller country. Irrespective of the EU based seller being VAT registered or not, if the counterpart is registered outside the EU, and the goods physically leave the EU, then no VAT is charged. If the goods stay within the EU, then VAT is ALWAYS charged, and handed over to the government in full, at the end of the next VAT-return period.
    That is EU wide VAT policy in a nutshell.
    Unless the Greek authorities are implementing their own version of VAT regulations, then it is almost impossible to end up in a situation where the government owes a load of money in VAT returns. If properly implemented, the system simply does not facility the possibility.


    • Thanks for your input. Could you send me the link where you got that info from?
      It might not be the way it SHOULD work but we, and an awful lot of companies, have ended up in this mess. Hasten to say that our Greek company ended, therefor we were entitled to the refund, but don’t get it anyway.
      Now, as a foreign company we have, according to the tax-office, have to pay VAT for every service concerning hotels and transport we buy in this country. And then we can claim it back from the Greek state. And that claim we don’t get honored…
      I might have gotten things a bit wrong by now. As I am the creative mind of the company and I married the financial mind… 😆

      • keeptalkinggreece

        the family financial mind should give us the proper report. maybe you’re rich, all VAT is being paid back and you just don’t know it lol

        • Are you trying to start an internal war here ? 🙂

          • keeptalkinggreece

            AAAhahaha! what’s why he insists to find out which ika exactly lol

          • Your just jealous of my richness: real love for more than 20 years. LOL.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            bravo! love makes thw orld goes ’round, not Vat return!

          • Eh… right… But a nice VAT-return would buy the petrol to get to my ‘other country’ or buy me a nice van with which I could travel back and forth more easily. And which would give me the opportunity to take with me some kilos oil, wine and tsipouro to get through this comming wet, dark and cold northern winter.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            tsk tsk tsk, suspicious consumption lusts, I see here. in times of recession? that’s a no-no.

      • What I gave you in the comment is a very basic outline of how VAT works throughout the EU. VAT is a very complex system (I’ve always suspected deliberately so!), not in the least because there are so many variables involved in it.
        The big question for you is this, are you, or rather is your company VAT registered in the country it is registered in?

        Now, as a foreign company we have, according to the tax-office, have to pay VAT for every service concerning hotels and transport we buy in this country

        The 2 deciding variables in terms of VAT are highlighted in bold in the above statement. They will be the main deciding factors, once you’ve confirmed you are VAT registered or not… But there are other factors as well. You buy services rather than physical products being one of those extras.

        • Thanks! I will refer this info to my in-house-accountant ;-).
          You know, she has the patience of a saint. I have not. She ones send me out of the local tax-office because I was about to strangle one of the tax-men. And she knows that’s not good for business… But even she slammed the phone on the hook this week. Well, the phone has no hook anymore, but she made noises that sounded like that after she spoke to the accountant of the hotel we just did business with. Most accountants are not really fun to be around. But Greek ones are champions in getting you really mad even if you are a saint.

          • Ha ha ! I stopped my husband punching a policeman once – had to drag him outside and he is NOT a violent man. Only trying to get my residency permit which should have been straightforward.
            Re VAT it is not always fair….. We buy food for our restaurant and pay VAT at 13% or 23% and the total we spend is owed back to us, however when we sell meals the VAT included is 23% and we owe this total to the state. The two amounts are set off against each other and the one who owes more pays the difference.

    • VAT is complex because it was designed to allow for cross-border intra-EU trade. Otherwise you can just have a simple sales tax that is only applied on the end consumer sale like most countries. Of course it creates a massive beaurocractic headache – every single B2B transaction has to be accounted for to government. If you are selling lots of small items and you are operating profitably, you should be sending the government money so you have no problem. If, like me, you are a small company doing small numbers of big jobs ( buying material in one quarter and selling the end product the next quarter, it’s a cash flow problem – the government is adding 20% to my funding requirements. If you ever have a period where you trade at a loss, the government owes you – and if it doesn’t pay it’s making it worse.

      VAT – another big mess the EU has made for us.

      • PS from memory only – as of foreign company you pay the VAT on services in the country where you receive them and (the bit I am not 100% sure of)you have to submit special forms to get the tax back from the country in which the services where obtained – i.e. not your normal VAT authority which is in the country of registration. Which I can imagine is a practical impossibility in Greece. E.g. I think there is no practical way of getting your tax back from food and hotel bills when you business travel to other EU countries ?

        • PPS Although on the UK form, the calculation of what is owed to you by your own government includes VAT on purchases from other EU states (not sure if this includes services)

        • That’s my understanding of the thing too. But you have to add to that nightmare the dealings with local suppliers and accountants who, a lot of times, had never any dealings with foreign companies and the requirements around that. So their, understandable, knee-jerk reaction is to keep on insisting to do things by the Greek letter of the law.
          We had the pleasure to be a Greek company for a couple of years and therefore have seen the other side of the coin too. Buying products for my business abroad and trying to convince the foreign companies that we really needed the name of the town where their tax-office is located on the invoice or else the Greek tax-office would not accept it.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            and? do foreign companies issue invoices with location of tax-office?
            BTW: do you have to …translate the foreign invoices?

          • No they don’t. So you have to specially ask them to put it their. And their own VAT-number and your VAT-number.
            That last one I learned to incorporate into my address. It was often the only way to get it on the foreign invoice.
            As far as I know an English invoice should be accepted. But in practice it was a lottery if it would be.
            Another ‘nice’ thing was that we had to ask taverna owners to write a fully itemized, handwritten timologio (invoice), because the tax-office never accepted a cash register slip (apodeixi). It took them often 30 minutes to write them. Even though, here in Greece, you have to have those machines checked and sealed by the tax-office and on the slip there is all the info they need. And last but not least, you have to safe the counter roll for inspection and the whole machine can’t be replaced or the memory deleted before 10 years have past… Therefore we still have our Greek cash register that we can not sell and can not use now our business is relocated.
            By the way: that cash register cost more then double then in any other country in the EU. Probably because you had to choose from a list that was approved by the tax-authorities. And for a portable one that list was awfully short.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            again: brrrrrr….
            but also in Germany you had (have) to keep your records for 5 years after closing your business. I had to move from apartment to apartment and city to city with 2 huge carton boxes with all my bank account recipts of 7-8 years and also those irrelevant to my taxed job. But my cat checked them before the tax office, and one of the box turned one day to be full of tiny pieces of paper. I guess the cat loved to sit on the soft ‘pillow’, in the darkness of the box and comfortably chew on my business life lol

          • Yes, nothing wrong with keeping evidence for 5 years. In my other country it is the same. 5 years and then cat-litter.
            But it’s great to hear what you cat did (?) think of that practice. Must have had Greek blood? If only “25%”? LOL

          • keeptalkinggreece

            not even 25%, Antonis, not even 25%. 100% foreigner! But meanhwile shehas been naturalized Greek.

    • Ephilant – Your misleading people. You talked a lot about the VAT but somehow you managed to completely miss the case you are replying to (from AntonisX). Antonis is talking about businesses getting VAT refunds.

      You say

      “If you keep registering VAT returns in your favour, you automatically lose your VAT registration after a certain amount of time, again depending on local regulations, and you end up simply paying VAT without the possibility to collect. You also lose any VAT credits you may have.” – This is complete garbage.

      Let me explain it to you.

      A factory in Greece sources it products from Greek suppliers. The factory pays VAT on the supplies. The factory then exports to businesses in the EU but outside of Greece who are VAT registered. He collects no VAT on his sales.

      The government needs to refund the business for the Greek VAT paid.

      The situation outlined by AntonisX comes about due to this process.

      • Thank you for your comment Richard. It would however be nice if you read the whole thing first, instead of pulling things out of context and starting from the wrong position all together. You have got it the wrong way around.
        AntonisX makes it clear that his company is NOT a GREEK registered company (as you say it is) and he makes it clear that he does NOT deal in physical goods but in services, which changes things a lot. Not in the least because his company is not subject to Greek VAT laws, but to the VAT laws of the country he is registered in.
        In fact, I started of by saying that VAT is a very complex system, the implementation of which depends a lot on a lot of variables (and the combinations of those variables), as well as on local regulations. If fact, I told him very clearly that what I said was a VERY BASIC outline of the Vat system.
        Your comment is precisely why I was very hesitant to start this discussion here, it is indeed so complex that it cannot possibly go beyond VERY BASIC points, which I have given, and which are 100% BASIC AND CORRECT.
        The situation that you outline is one of the many possible combinations affecting a company registered in Greece. Companies registered outside of Greece may be subjected to the same set of rules, but that would simply be coincidence in that the country where the company is registered applies the same system as Greece. It has nothing to do with the regulations being Greek. A foreign registered company is not subject to Greek VAT laws. Greek companies are, whether they deal in or outside Greece.

        • And further to that, as far as I am aware, depending on the rules in the country his company is registered in, he may be able to simply deduct the VAT paid in Greece from his local vat liability.
          I might be wrong on this one, but if memory serves me well, if his company was British registered, he would be allowed to do so. And again, probably only some VAT expenses, not all of them.
          Whether he can or not has however NOTHING to do with the Greek laws, it’s the authorities in the country of registration who decide on that, and that’s where he should ask the question, not in Greece.

          • Hello Ephilant – Substitute “Greece” for any country in the world that has VAT. It works the same way throughout the world.

            If there is another way to get a VAT refund I am not aware of it. About services, works the same way but much more confusing.

            ” A foreign registered company is not subject to Greek VAT laws. ” – If they sell over 70,000Euro of products or services to Greece then they are subject to Greek VAT. This is universal through the EU the difference being the threshold of the sales value.

          • Well Richard, you are changing the goal posts again. You now add the condition of reaching certain sales figures. From the start, I said quite clearly that what I said was the very basic VAT system, which is indeed subject to lots of different regulations, andhich is why I was very iffy about starting this conversation here, there simply is not enough space to carry it through completely.

            If they sell over 70,000 Euro of products or services to Greece then they are subject to Greek VAT. This is universal through the EU the difference being the threshold of the sales value.

            You are wrong again. This is true only if the company is registered in Greece, Richard, only if it is registered in Greece.

            A British company selling 2 million worth of goods into Greece is NOT subject to Greek Vat regulations, unless it is registered as a Greek company. It is, as a British registered company, subject to British VAT regulations only. It’s called export.
            Irrespective of how much it sells anywhere, for VAT purposes a company is regulated in the country of registration, nowhere else. If what you state were true, then every large company in Europe would be subject to 2 sets of VAT regulations.
            The 70,000 you mention is the sales treshold for GREECE based companies after which they MUST register for VAT in Greece. Just like a British based company reaching (I think) 68,000 GBP worth of sales, MUST register for VAT in BRITAIN, or an Irish company reaching 100,000 € (I think, haven’t got the exact figures handy here) must register in Ireland. Neither Greece nor Britain nor anybody else can force or demand a FOREIGN registered company register for VAT in their jurisdiction. Countries can however demand that if a foreign registered business sells on a daily bais, and reaches certain levels of sales in their country, that the company in question registers a subsidiary in the country it’s selling in to. Example, Vodafone UK, Vodafone GR, Vodafone DE, etc. And then, of course, that subsidiary becomes subject to the VAT regulations in the country that subsidiary is registered in, including the tresholds specified in the country of registration.

  3. Well from my experience.

    I do my business as usual, I buy and i sell.

    Any product i buy to sell is not tax deductuble. I sell it at a profit and i pay the state a % of tax on the profit i made.

    Any thing i spend on improving my business or keep my business running. Such as an extra table or a new table to replace the broken one. Is tax deductuble.

    Let’s say i made a good profit for the month of 10,000.00 €uro. My ongoing bussiness expense was 2,000.00 €uro for the month. And 40% is taxes to the state.

    10,000.00 – 2,000.00 = 8,000.00

    Therefore i will pay 40% tax only on the 8,000.00 €uro which is about 3,200.00 €uro so my Nett profit (money i earned is 4,800.00 €uro.

    But here is where the problem starts.

    People in business see this and start thinking why should i give 3,200.00 to the state? If it was in my pocket i could buy a new car or that new watch i was admiring. So begins the tax cheating game.

    But if this tax money is not paid to the state, we end up where we are now in Greece.

    Our people suffer, our hospitals suffer, our schools suffer, the defence of our country becomes weaker and our roads crumble.

    But this only half the problem.

    The other half is that the taxes already collected by the state is mishandled and pocketed by corrupt politicians and public servants.

    That is why we need a new government and a new Constitution and new laws and a new system to stop these crimes. And to do away with Diplomatic Immunity.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      problem is that even if billions have been paid on extra/emergencies/solidarity etc taxes in the last 2.5 years still hospitals suffer, social welfar, suffers, educatins suffers, roads crumble.

      An option to decrease tax evasion is to lower taxes. But nobody things about.

      thanks for the info how business tax works.

    • One of the biggest problems we ran into constantly here in Greece, as a Greek company, was that almost everything I needed to do my work was not accepted at the tax-offices as work-related expenses. Like I said to A. Brit, when the invoices you got were not very specific on all kinds of details they would reject it out of hand. Most English invoices were rejected too. As I had to import stuff, because I could simply not get it here in Greece, that was a real killer.
      Not to talk about crazy things like not being allowed to deduct the heating costs of our offices because we use oil. If we were using electricity we could. But not oil. And getting audited was horrible. For every drinking glass and pencil in the office you needed to come up with a receipt. Fair enough if we would have deducted them from our taxes. But we didn’t. Still it was considered a tax-offence. That’s why I am always very suspicious when I read that checks resulted in thousands of tax-offences. WHAT offences is always my question. Real ones or crazy ones?
      One of the greatest advantages of not being a Greek company anymore is the amount of time we now can put into running our business instead of having to deal 50% of the time with red-tape. Since we are based abroad we can do our own bookkeeping and deal ourselves with the tax-authorities there. You always have a up to the minute inside in all your business and tax-dealings. And last but not least: not being treated as if you were the greatest criminal in the country simply because you have a business is such a pleasure… But it only show how deep the madness has grown here.

    • Aestos – You say “People in business see this and start thinking why should i give 3,200.00 to the state? If it was in my pocket i could buy a new car or that new watch i was admiring. So begins the tax cheating game.
      But if this tax money is not paid to the state, we end up where we are now in Greece.
      Our people suffer, our hospitals suffer, our schools suffer, the defence of our country becomes weaker and our roads crumble.”

      You think the state can spend your money in a better way than you can? That is what your implying. Because you spent the money instead of the state your life and the life of those around you is worse off. I dont believe that is the case.

      (Also hosptals and roads are seperate from income tax)

      • Richard i think you did not understand the point i was making.

        I was giving a simple example of how a bussiness works and the tax and deductions it pays and claims.

        And i threw in for good measure how a lot of Greek business people think when they see how much tax they have to pay. And where their thoughts go.

        And it is all part and parcel of running a nation. Taxes no matter whether they are income taxes, state taxes, state fees, traffic fines, import and export duties, VAT or any other taxes. They all go to running the countries infrustructures.

        And as i pointed out, even the taxes that are collected. They are then subject and up for grabs by corrupt politicians and civil servants. Please do not twist the message i am giving. I am simply showing people out in the world what is the problem in Greece.

        And “yes” it is the main problem of why Greece is in the situation it is now.

        And probably, i would like to show that i can make things better in Greece with a good team and one of the first i would ask would be Ephilant. He reads between the lines and sees behind the scenes.

        • Aetos – Sorry if you thought I was twisting anything my intention was agreement with your point.

          • Thank you Richard. 🙂 It is the suffering of the average person in Greece.

            And it is a real tragedy when all the people that have contributed to the situation in Greece in a big way. Are also guilty of the suicides people committed, because of the pressure they were put under economically.

  4. more and more small and some large companies in ireland are withholding their VAT to stay in business and the authorities are turning a ‘blind eye’ to it until they get into trouble of course then they and consequently theis employees end up in trouble

  5. I’ve been reading all the comments carefully – I’ve had my company (children’s clothes shop) since 2007 and lately I can’t make enough money to survive. I’ve managed to pay all tax AND my rent but TEBE is another monthly horror that I can no way find! As a logical person my mind cannot get round the requirement to pay a huge TEBE bill every two months even if the shop is not taking that much to cover it!

    So off we go to the offices to try and sort out payments for past TEBE not paid – instead of lowering costs so I can pay – I now have a 1.200 euro bill which …. if I couldn’t pay the 900 before somehow I can only speculate that I won’t be able to find the higher sum as well!

    So I rattle my brain as to what I can do to survive with no savings – husband not working and no in-laws or parents to rely on. Light bulb appeared yesterday ‘I know, I will close the shop and try my hand at internet selling – at least I can reach a wider audience. My accountant came in the shop this morning – I relayed my ‘plan’ to him and he told me my TEBE must be up to date to do that – even though nothing will be changing – same AFM – same stock etc etc. I want to do this in order to get enough money to pay my bl**dy TEBE!!!!! Life is such a bind here in Greece …. after 25yrs I have had enough, if it weren’t for my two children I would have packed my bags and ran away!

    Nothing is more soul destroying than trying to work legally in Greece!

    • keeptalkinggreece

      yes, @assimenia, it looks as if they push people to illegality. thanks for sharing the story with us.

    • As a logical person my mind cannot get round the requirement to pay a huge TEBE bill every two months even if the shop is not taking that much to cover it!

      That was the killer for us too. But we did not have one person out of work and two kids to take care of. Me deepest sympathy goes out to you. I know it will not help you in your financial trouble, but I hope it helps a bit to know that a lot of others are in the same position.
      Almost everybody I talk to now is being killed off by TEBE. Nothing wrong with paying, but if you are not making money the amount should go down for that period. Not here. It just goes up and up.
      But good on you to try other ways. Maybe someone here knows how you could set up an internet business without being strung up by Greek bureaucracy again?

    • asimenia – how is internet selling defined? ie at what point do sales become classed as “internet”? collecting from out of town, website, telephone orders, fax orders, online orders, online payment. At what point does it become classed as “interent”.

      About TEVE. Its part of a larger plan to seperate taxes from income. That way when the economy is going down to government gets the same revenue or as much as they possibly can.

      The use the “primary deficit” figure to measure the “progress” of the government in “cutting” costs.

      By seperating tax from income it keeps this number looking good by maintaing tax revenues in a collapsing economy.

      I wrote an article here

    • @Asimenia. You have my sympathies Asimenia, I know exactly how you feel. You are however making the same mistake a lot of people make. An internet business is still a business, it’s not a “free for all” that you can somehow set up somewhere in the far distance of Cyber space where nobody can/will find you.
      You still need to take payments, somehow. You need an Internet Payment Service Provider for that, being a company that takes payments on your behalf, and then puts them into your bank account for you, for a fee of course. And those fees can vary widely, you really need to shop around. You also need to make sure that whichever one you chose is actually recognized as such by your bank, which can be a major problem.
      You will need your bank to give you a Merchant account to work with. This is different from the merchant account you may have linked to your shop-based credit card terminal!
      Alternatively, you can go with an International Payment Service Provider like PayPal. But your PayPal account, which is very easy to set up, must still be linked to a bank account and a card. In order to get at your money, you need to download the money from your PayPal account into your linked Bank account. And that not only costs, there are also severe limits on how much you can down load in any one go, but also as a total in one calendar year. That depends on your “security level”, which you can upgrade by providing more paperwork.
      Once you have that hurdle set up, you can look at the actual set-up.
      The idea to go “internet” is, for most people, driven by the idea of reducing their overheads while reaching more potential customers. This is only really feasible if you can get your suppliers to drop ship for you. Otherwise you still need stock, storage space, etc. Not all suppliers will do this, and it invariably results in a lesser discount so they can cover their cost.
      What most people do not realise is that maintaining an e-commerce site is a lot of hard, tedious work, which I’m sure you are not afraid of. I am however also sure you seriously underestimate just how much work it involves.
      The other thing most people don’t realise is the cost involved in setting this up. I’m not just talking hosting cost etc. Yes there are lots of so called “free” systems out there that make it look like an absolute doddle. They invariably don’t do what you need them to do, and cost a fortune to adapt to your needs. Unless you are willing and able to learn how to manipulate a program yourself, you will spend a small fortune on somebody to do this for you. You also need to market this internet presence, which costs a lot, and unless done the way it should be done, results in nothing near what you should get from proper marketing.
      The internet is a great tool, make no mistake. If it wasn’t for the internet, we would not have KTG:)
      Going “Internet” is a major business development, and a ticket to a lot of hard work. It is not a ticket to a relaxing life, which is the big mistake many people make. It requires a lot of personal as well as financial investment to get it right, and in the end, there still is TEBE…

      • keeptalkinggreece

        relaxing life? who spoke about relaxing life?
        at least one saves on paying utilies, rents, municipality fees via electric bills etc.

        This comment is very contra-productive, if you allow me.

        • I think you are picking me up wrong on this KTG. I am merely pointing out that a lot of people make the MISTAKE in thinking the internet business option is the easy option. Meaning, that is very much the wrong reason for doing it.
          As for the savings you mentions, yes indeed, providing you supply a service like you do. Not necessarily of such high quality as yours, but a service as opposed to selling products.
          If you are going to sell physical products over the internet, you still need to have the stock, storage space, etc., which attracts all those expenses, unless, as I point out, you get your suppliers to drop ship for you.

  6. Good info Ephilant. There is indeed nothing easy about setting up and running a internet business.
    And although KTG is right that you might save on utilities etc. the Greek State has a habit of still sc***** you threefold.
    Does anybody have the link to that article about the people who wanted to sell olive oil over the internet and ended up by needing to give stool samples? That was a great example.
    But for one to run a business from abroad one needs to live there physically. And that’s something Asimenia is not prepared to do, because of the kids. So she would need somebody (relative?) outside the country as confidante and primary business owner. Risky!!! Still, it’s a possibility. In a lot of countries the tax-man wants you to live more than 6 months a year in that country before being considered a resident and being taxed as such.
    I have the feeling that Asimenia has, just as I did, no problem with the fact that one must pay TEVE or taxes. It’s fine by me too. But the way it is set up here is just killing every business and the families behind them. And until that is changed one is almost obliged to look for alternatives if only for the future of your kids.

    • Why do I get the impression you don’t like the Greek state apparatus and the apparatchiks?

      In a lot of countries the tax-man wants you to live more than 6 months a year in that country before being considered a resident and being taxed as such.

      I don’t of course know the details of this in Greece (does anybody?), but in my other country you could live there and not pay taxes if you could prove you were out of the country for more than 182 days a year (= your six months). There is also some rule that allows the big shots to escape tax on their earnings in the country if they live outside the country and don’t, at any given time, spend more than 24 hours in the country. Which is of course simply a total cop-out, because they all have the right passport, and as there is free travel within Europe… No Dublin 2 agreement there!
      The six month rule is what a lot of celebrities and other posers use to escape paying the full whack of taxes they otherwise would have to pay.

      • Why do I get the impression you don’t like the Greek state apparatus and the apparatchiks?

        Beats me. 😉
        I don’t even bother anymore to go into Greek rules on living or not living here. It all depends on the size of your fakeli it seems.
        But in my other country it is like in yours, indeed.

  7. @Richard – you brought up a couple of very good points. But some of them are not as general applying as you seem to suggest. But Ephilant is right, it’s a way to complicated subject to discuss here. Although it sure helped me giving ideas for what to do next. Thanks, you both!