Greece woos wealthy foreigners with 'non-dom' scheme
The Greek government is rolling out the red carpet for rich foreigners with money to invest. The 'non-dom' scheme looks a lot like the Golden Visa programmes found elsewhere in Europe - and it's proving just as controversial.
Are you wealthy and looking for a way to stop paying high taxes? If so, keep reading.
Invest in Greece
This is how it works: you move your tax residency in Greece, pay a flat tax of €100,000 and invest another €500,000 in the country. After that, you can forget about the tax rate on your wealth.
"People with huge fortunes have all kinds of ways and areas to avoid taxing," says Greek Deputy Minister of Finance Theodoros Skilakakis. "What we are interested in are wealthy people who can come to invest in Greece and live here, if possible. We have a large volume of investment projects of all kinds - from small to large, from real estate to businesses - that offer very good returns."
The 'non-dom' programme is old news to many European countries and is already available in the UK, Ireland, Malta, Italy and Cyprus.
In Europe, websites offering assistance with 'non-dom' and Golden Visa schemes are growing more popular each day. They address the so-called "middle class of the ultra rich” and promise their clients easy ways to benefit from low-tax jurisdictions.
"Breaking the social contract"
But critics say these kind of programmes "break the social contract" in Europe.
Sven Giegold is a Green Party Member of the European Parliament. He says the programmes are nothing short of theft.
"We see a real proliferation of tax incentives for wealthy individuals. You are basically stealing tax income from other countries. We have to make sure that there is a level playing field and people pay more if they are richer and not less."
Income tax is the most valuable source of public revenue in Europe. Once reduced, public services, such as schools, hospitals and roads, could be severely affected.