There has been a significant increase in the number of vehicles with foreign plates in Greece, as their owners are able to avoid paying this country’s high road tax and fines.
In response to a parliamentary question, Deputy Finance Minister Katerina Papanatsiou said that the temporary circulation of vehicles in Greece with foreign plates is legal provided certain conditions are fulfilled, such as being in Greece for no more than six months of the year and that their owner’s main residence is outside Greece.
If owners of cars with plates from other European Union states do not meet these requirements, they face fines of between 2,500 and 10,000 euros, while in the case of vehicles with plates from third countries, the owners may be charged with smuggling and face a fine three times the cost of vehicle registration and tax payments in Greece. Their vehicles will also confiscated.
The six month rule contravenes European regulations and Greece is fined many millions of euros annually because of such ‘laws’. The legal requirement for vehicles is only that they must be road legal in the country of origin. When Greece wakes up to reality and implements a proper and fair system they will quickly find that it is to their considerable benefit instead of detriment. How bizarre that they don’t want the cars in but could so easily collect revenues if they made it easy and cost effective for people to import their vehicles and pay local road tax, insurance and comply with local MOT testing regulations. These failures of successive governments is beyond all logic and reasoning to the point that it is mind numbing! It’s very much the classic Greek position to implement systems that are so severe that tens of thousands of businesses leave and set up in places like Bulgaria instead of implementing the investment friendly system here. There is only three words that can possibly desribe this behaviour, arrogance, ignorance or incompetence, take your pick or choose a combination!
This is incorrect. You are not entitled in EU law to take your car permanently to another EU country, and basically avoid all fines and road taxes. AS I recall, from as much as 20 years ago in Italy, the law requires you to import the car through legal processes if you wish to use it for more than 6 months. This is based on your residence of taxation, which is usually determined by annual residence of 6 months and one day. So, if you are resident for taxes in another EU country — which legally implies that you cannot be resident in Greece for more than 6 months — you do not have to do anything differently. If you merely brought your car from abroad and think that you can get around local taxation and insurance rules, then you can do so no longer.
It is the incompetence of the Greek state that they allowed people to do this for decades, without doing anything about it. Apart from anything else, as there is no EU register of car licence plates, foreign plates cannot easily be traced and their owners can escape all traffic penalties.
We used to stay in Greece for 8-9 months, and have our UK car. We wanted to pay their road tax, make it easier, but it was so expensive it was prohibitive to do, to import the car costs thousands of euros. So we risked it. They want to make it easier to not extortionate and then they may find people are happy to do this, makes life easier all round
Yes, it was the same in Italy when I lived there. The main problem actually is EU law on VAT. In theory, VAT is a European tax that should never be charged more than once on something. In reality, all EU governments treat it as a national tax and make you pay it again when you import a car from another EU country. The problem lies with all EU governments and the European Commission: they are more concerned with extorting money from people than with trying to uphold citizen’s rights.