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U.S. and Greek Income and Property Taxes
 
September 2014

TAXES 2014

W-8BEN Scam Warning

We would like to warn taxpayers of an email scam requesting readers to complete and fax in a W-8BEN form. It is helpful to note that the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers to request personal or financial information - this includes email, text messages, or social media. If you receive an email requesting that you complete and return a W-8BEN, it is a scam, please do not respond to it. All unsolicited email claiming to be from either the IRS or any other IRS-related components such as the Office of Professional Responsibility or EFTPS, should be reported to phishing@irs.gov, and then deleted. For further instructions on what to do if you receive a suspicious IRS-related communication, please see our website here: www.irs.gov/uac/Report-Phishing or here: www.irs.gov/uac/Suspicious-e-Mails-and-Identity-Theft

PAYING US INCOME TAXES

U.S. citizens and resident aliens, including those with dual citizenship who have income even from activities that take place outside of the U.S. may have a tax liability and a filing requirement in U.S. 

In general, U.S. citizens living in Greece and have an annual income of more than $10,000 (for singles) or $20,000 (for married) must file a tax return in the U.S. The minimum limits are slightly larger for people over 65 and change little from year to year, so it is advisable to look at the IRS www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96623,00.html

At this point we should mention that the requirement for filing does not necessarily mean that there will be a financial debt to the U.S. Government. The so-called “Foreign Earned Income Exclusion” may exclude from tax, income from work up to $97,600 derived from non U.S. sources. Also, taxes paid in Greece can reduce or completely eliminate any tax debt to the U.S.

The deadline for submitting tax returns in U.S. for people living abroad is June 15 of the year following the year for which the return is due.

Those Americans, who have not filed taxes in the past, should make late returns for the last six years.

Every year, usually by February, the Consular Section receives a comprehensive selection of federal (not state) tax forms.

You may obtain forms in person between 9:00am and 4:00pm weekdays or you may call us at 210-7202421 to mail them to you only if you reside outside Athens.

The Department of the Treasury's Internal Revenue Service website has an abundance of online tax information including tax forms, tax help and tax CD-ROM products.

If you need to download forms or instructions the IRS internet site is www.irs.gov

The rate of exchange for 2014 for tax purposes is 0,783 Euro 

The U.S. Embassy in Athens does not have an IRS representative; therefore we are not in a position to offer tax assistance.

Taxpayers who wish to hire a professional tax preparer to help them file their returns will find a list of U.S. tax preparers. The list is also available from the Consular Section’s Notary Unit.

You may wish to contact the IRS regional office at the U.S. Embassy in Paris at:

American Embassy
IRS Room E-414
2 Avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
Tel:  00331-43122555
E-mail: irs.paris@irs.gov or

Contact the Principal Office responsible for providing International Tax Assistance in Philadelphia at phone +1 (267) 9411000 Fax: +1 (267) 9411055 E-mail: www.irs.gov/uac/Help-With-Tax-Questions---International-Taxpayers
Mail: Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 920, Bensalem, PA 19020 USA 

Unresolved Tax Problems

If you have tried to resolve a tax problem but it has not been resolved in a timely manner or if an IRS action is causing you a significant hardship, you should contact the International Taxpayer Advocate by:

Phone: +1 (877) 777-4778 or +1 (787) 622-8940
Fax: +1 (787) 622-8933
Mail: Internal Revenue Service
Attn: Taxpayer Advocate Office
San Patricio Office Building, Room 200
7 Tabonuco Street
Guaynabo, Puerto Rico 00966

Reporting of Foreign Bank Accounts (FBAR) and Foreign Financial Assets

Depending on the taxpayer's personal situation, Form 8938, Statement of Foreign Financial Assets, may also be due (attached to their form 1040).  Depending on the balance maintained in a foreign bank account, a taxpayer may also need to file a form Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) by June 30, 2014.  Information on Form 8938 and FBAR please refer to the IRS site. http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Report-of-Foreign-Bank-and-Financial-Accounts-FBAR  

According to “Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act” (FATCA) all foreign financial institutions are required to identify their Clients with US tax liability; report to the competent U.S. Authorities information about such Clients and assets they hold and withhold-pay tax at a rate of 30% in certain cases of Clients who are deemed as non-cooperating.

U.S. citizens who maintain a bank account in Greece may be asked to fill out forms W-9 and W-8BEN by their Bank.

Individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINS)

The IRS issues ITINs to foreign nationals and resident aliens who are required to have U.S. taxpayer identification number for federal tax purposes but do not qualify for a Social Security Number.  A person may request an ITIN by filing a Form W-7 with a certified copy of their passport and other required supplementary documentation. http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/General-ITIN-Information 

PAYING GREEK INCOME TAXES

Who is subject to income tax in Greece?

Greek income tax is imposed to a) any individual who has his permanent residence or usual place of domicile in Greece b) any individual, regardless of his permanent residence or usual place of domicile, for his income which is produced in Greece.

Usual place of residence is deemed to exist when an individual resides in Greece for above 183 days in the same calendar year.

Residents of U.S. may be asked to present to the Greek tax office the Certification (Form 6166) from Philadelphia in order to claim tax treaty benefits.

Form 6166 is a letter on U.S. Department of Treasury stationery stating that an individual or a company are residents of the U.S. for federal tax purposes and can be obtained by submitting Form 8802, Application for United States Residency Certification. Please see the following link:

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Form-8802,-Application-for-United-States-Residency-Certification---Additional-Certification-Requests .

Form 6166 should bear the Apostille stamp from the U.S. Department of State. Please find information on how to obtain the Apostille at http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/c53215.htm

Greek tax structure is modified seemingly daily and although is unpleasant, one must abide with Greek tax laws.  Failure to file a return or pay taxes imposed will result in a fine.

An Agreement between Greece and U.S. for the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Income prevents double taxation by deducting the tax paid in one country from the tax to be paid in the other country. You may obtain a copy of a U.S. income tax treaty at the following link: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/international/article/0,,id=96739,00.html

Detailed information on the Greek Tax Code can be obtained from the Ministry of  Economy and Finance, 10 Karagiorgi Servias Street, 4th floor, 10184 Athens, Tel: 210-3375000 and 213-1525000, fax:  210-3375025, website www.gsis.gr, e-mail d12.a@yo.syzefxis.gov.gr or from the Greek Consulates abroad.

TRANSFER OF PROPERTY TAXES

A transfer of ownership tax is assessed on the value of the property in accordance with the property value tables established by the Ministry of Finance.  In areas where such tables have not been established yet, the local tax authorities appraise the property value.  The method of assessment depends on the type of transfer, i.e., purchase, donation, inheritance, etc.  Details can be obtained from an attorney or from the Ministry of Finance.

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