In many years of holidays in Greece, this has been the only year we’ve enquired about extending our stay. The only occasion when, thanks to a new tax-attractive scheme aimed at attracting settlers from across Europe, I’ve found myself looking wistfully at an estate agent’s window.
The Greek government is introducing a 7 per cent flat rate of income tax for “retirees” looking to relocate. Such an initiative is not new – Portugal tried something similar. But unlike Portugal, the Greek low tax applies to all sources of income, not just pensions. The provisos are that you must reside in Greece for more than six months in the year, and you cannot take a Greek job. So if you can work remotely, you can qualify – in other words you don’t need to have “retired” at all. Just €300,000 (£270,000) gets you a beautiful villa overlooking the Ionian Sea, complete with pool and fast broadband, not far from the airport…
The sun, sand, sea weigh heavily. So does safety. In Greece we’ve not felt suffocated and impeded by Covid-19. I admit to not reading or understanding Greek but we’ve not been aware of fury and constant rows, not like in Britain. We wear masks in shops and taxis, I was tested on arrival at the airport, the police patrol regularly and slap instant fines on anyone not obeying the rules. One local cafe was hit with €150 because as police drove past they saw that a waiter’s mask was not covering his mouth and nose. A bar owner at a neighbouring resort was arrested and faces a possible €10,000 fine plus a spell in prison for allowing customers to stand too close to each other when they should have been sitting.
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