Tag Archives: gov

Closing a business in Greece

A few years ago I was working as a freelancer. Now, being a freelancer here means two things: First, that you essentially run a business and second, that you are a constant target for the tax collectors, even if you don’t have income from freelancing. In the recent wake of tax raid, I decided to close the books once and for all. How difficult can it be to close a business than opening one? Hah!

I paid a visit to my tax advisor, who prepared no less than five applications and a couple of printouts and some advise. Armed with these, I set off for the state tax office. First stop, the auditors. After consulting the legislation and doing a thorough check, they gave me this:

“Just go around and fill the blanks”, she said. “Off you go now!”

Apparently, it was my turn to walk up and down two floors in the tax office and visit almost every single department to collect signatures and certifications like:

  • I have paid all my VAT obligations
  • I don’t have any assets registered
  • I have filed all my income declarations and done my taxes for the past 8 years
  • Other obscure things I don’t remember
After that, back to the auditors to check if the others had done their jobs, get more signatures and back to the register office to get the final declaration… All these took more than four hours, and as I was told, my case was an easy one since I did not have had any assets or pending invoices. I had to wait in queues for more than two hours, yet, the most obnoxious fact was that every office had a terminal running the same application. In simple terms this means that every one of those behind the desks could have run a check on all these and let me do my job in less than ten minutes. Or, wait, they could have used a workflow and a web portal and let me do their job in 5 minutes. But, noooo, let insanity rule. And drag the whole country down to a loud and spectacular crash.