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Income €20K, tax €8.7K: Brainstrokes & sublingual tablets for Greek taxpayers

The nightmare of tax office has already hit many Greek taxpayers, preferably freelancers and self-employed with low and medium income. With the new tax calculation that abolishes tax free caps, taxes the very first euro with 26% and collects 55% of next year’s taxes in advance, Greece hit a new records in brain-strokes, high blood pressure and increasing demand on sub-lingual tablets.

A freelancer with 20,000 euro annual income in 2013 must:

pay €5,200 tax +  55 % (€ 2,860) tax in advance for next year = a nice sum of  €8,060!

Starting from June, the payment is due in three installments of €2,686 each, every two months.

Is one installment delayed an interest of 8% is imposed for every month of delay.

Heavy fines will be imposed if the tax is not paid at all.

What it should be added to the freelancers is the €600 trade fee and the 1-4% solidarity fee imposed by the Troika-Greek FinMin joint venture.

That is a freelancer with annual income €20,000 in 2013, will have to pay in taxes in 2014:

€5,200 tax + €2,860 tax in advance + €650  trade fee = €8,710

In addition a freelancer will have to pay yearly €3,000 for social security in TEVE

€8,710 + €3,000 = € 11,710

Can you calculate how much will be left for the freelancer to cover his monthly needs in food, rent, electricity, telephone etc

Unable to combat big scale tax evasion, Troika-ruled Greece has used a series of inspirational ways to collect the revenues it needs every year. The easy victims are, of course, the low and middle classes, the employees and pensioners.

Different tax calculators for the same annual income

The annual amount of 20,000 euro, for example, is being taxed through different calculators depending on the source.

20,000 euro annual income is taxed with

total: €8,060 = €5,200 + 2,860 in advance for self-employed and freelancers

total: €2,300 for employees

total: €5,952 =  €3,840 + €2,112 (55% tax in advance) if the income comes from rent

For free lancers and self-employed, annual income up to €50,000 is taxed with 26% from the very first euro, and 33% for amounts over €50,000.

Tax in advance: borrow money to the state without interest

All this genius “tax in advance” formula applies regardless of whether you keep your business open or your real estate leased till the end of the year. And regardless of the fact that the Greek Finance Ministry is incredibly stingy when it comes to tax returns.

What is the purpose of paying tax in advance in a economical unstable and recession-hit environment? What is the purpose of paying taxes in advance, when taxes and social contributions swallow 2/3 of your income? What’s the purpose of being a self-employed or a free lancer with a low income and have to borrow money to come up with your obligations? What is the purpose of being a freelancer and borrow money to the state till the next tax declaration, that is for at least one year and without interest rate?

 A friend was recently offered a freelancer job for €1,000 per month for some 10 hours per day for one year.

He calculated that the whole project was not worth it because he would need to pay each month: €200 tax + €250 social contribution + €230 V.A.T. = €680.

He added the annual trade fee of €650, the tax in advance he would need to pay next year,  the transport and other cost he would have at work and his monthly needs for the basics: rent, food, electricity, water, phone.

He found out that it doesn’t worth to …work and still sink in debts for a net monthly earning of less than €300!


Hard to believe? That’s the success story model, guys! And a real bad joke at times when the Greek government claims to boost entrepreneurship now that unemployment is at 27% and jobs are a rarity.


Links:  tax calculations freelancers and self-employed (in Greek) here, here and here





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  1. It sounds like the freelancer is only being asked to pay 50% of his CURRENT year tax in the 2nd half of the current year, if tax year starts in January. This is normal in most countries to pay something DURING the year based on an estimate (not in advance). The remaining 50% is due in arrears. The fact that he has not done this before does makes the first year difficult if he spent all the tax he must pay on last year (2013) instead of putting it aside as it was earned. Presumably Greek employed people pay tax on the current year as they earn it, ie from January through to the end of the year.
    Regarding the last example, surely the VAT 230 on 1000 euros per month is payable by the person offering the work who will be invoiced (1000 + 230 VAT = 1230). If he invoices only 1,000 INCLUDING VAT then it is only 813 plus 187 VAT per month.
    I’m not saying it is easy. Taxing ALL income (declared) with no tax free allowance is tough, but the timing to pay is perfectly normal to other people in other countries.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      the tax office recognizes only social security contributions as expenses. Nothing else. that and in combination with no tax free amount is tougher than you think. what they do here is they copy paste the worst form other countries without the benefits. At the same time what Greeks get in return for paying taxes is getting less and less every year. Taxes serve mostly the debt but not the citizens.

      In certain professional groups of freelancers, ’employers’ have to pay the VAT but as they don’t it’s the freelancer who does.

      Yes, employees get their tax subtracted from their salary each month.