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Greek married to a Brit – what happens in 2021?

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        • BIC 2.0 Newbie
        Member since: 26th December 2020

        I am a Greek citizen and my husband is a British Citizen. Need advice re Brexit and living in Greece.
        We have temporarily come to Greece in September 2020. With the transition period now coming to an end, we are trying to work out what to do so he can continue to live in Greece and avoid being fined for incorrectly declaring his stay.
        Should he become resident as part of the withdrawal agreement or permanent resident as part of our marriage?

        We will be leaving Greece in June 2021, so we will not be tax residents, and going forward we will be spending just a few weeks in Greece per year.
        Any advice on what to do would be much appreciated.

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            • Practcally Cretan
            • ★★★★★★
            Member since: 1st January 2005

            To Be Greek Tax Resident or Not is the Issue in 2021

            Hello kesm,

            A belated reply with a reason. In mentioning Tax Residency in your post, you hit the nail on the head.

            And in saying you will come back to Greece for a few weeks each year, well, this kind of answers your own question too. I will elaborate further at the end of this posting.

            You are very lucky to have these choices. These being to live in England or live in Greece.

            Greek law states that as a Greek, your husband is always a Greek citizen and will always be able to have Greece as his domicile. You are British from the sounds of it and you can always live in UK.

            Best of both worlds. It depends on how you use the facility

            Let us review my understanding of being an EU citizen. You can move freely to find work and establish residency without too many limitations in another EU country. In fact when Britain was still in the EU, Brits were encouraged to think “European”. Indeed many became transitory. The most famous group were those who spent time commuting between Spain and Britain. They used to take low cost flights as they do taking a local bus for shopping in UK.  One big advantage of this ‘commuting’ was they could massage the system. But one big plus of the Spanish connection was the ability to top up cost effectively their cigarette stock when returning from Spain to keep them happy for the time they spent in UK. But that all came to a halt on December 31, 2020, on Brexit.

            Brexit forced decisions not in place before

            The key point after Brexit in the post Brexit era, is that we can no longer retain a foothold in two places splitting time between Greece and UK without consequences. The Withdrawal Agreement has caused both government bureaucracies to become more territorial. You choose either Britain or Greece, because a foot in both is not possible anymore. Brits are now regarded as third country aliens. It is a nasty word “alien”. But there you go that is what Brits are now in the context of Brussels and EU regulations. Plainly, this alienation causes a lot of regulatory issues.

            Is it residency then in Britain or in Greece. While “residency” and ‘tax” are not supposed to be linked, the reality is they are. No longer can we ride the system but must plonk ourselves in only one country at a time and become tax liable there.

            By the way, it is an international requirement that anyone, all of us, have to declare which place is our main country of tax residency if we choose to live, work or retire in another jurisdiction.  Fortunately there is a double taxation agreement between Britain and Greece that saves a lot of problems even after Brexit.

            What has not changed is dealing with banks when we move between jurisdictions. We confront the  “Know Your Customer – KYC” rule. This is any bank’s legal requirement to authorities that they have checked out throughly any new customer and that they definitely “Know Their Customer”. Or put more precisely know the customers’ prior source(s) of income, and it was legal.

            kesm – you may have waded through all this bureaucracy already,  but making decisions of choice of residence is not a matter to take lightly.

            Unfortunately if anyone had replied earlier to your post, as such I think it would have been speculative at best. This is probably a key reason why there were no original responses to your question.

            Visiting Greece temporarily, Is that a Good Solution?

            Your point of ‘visiting Greece‘ for short periods, is a great use of the “three month rule” no-visa rule. Brits can enter the Schengen area (that includes most of EU Europe and Greece) without a visa for a ‘usual’ kind of short stay. But passports are likely stamped on entry and exit. It is a bit like going back to the pre-Britain-in-the-EU era, 40+ years ago when Greece’s border points were usually very easy for Brits entering and leaving. Don’t over-stay these days though. And remember, the 3 months includes any time spent in another EU Schengen country like Germany, Italy, France, Holland etc.

            What Options to Choose?

            I do know of several couples, being of working age in the same situation as you are, kesm. They have opted to favour UK at the moment as they have youngsters. In pure financial terms, in my opinion it is better to be in the UK as a Greek, married to a Brit. Unless there are extenuating family circumstances in Greece where, for instance it pays to have babies in Greece (government has been paying a significant sum for each new baby that comes into the world). Even so, as we know, the social support system for working age adults is superior in Britain. But not as cheap a place as Greece to live. There is always time in the future to plonk yourselves down full time in Greece. But there again, times are changing in Britain too. The mood has become very sombre in the ‘woke’ times for many who believe in old fashioned family values, such as using Mum and Dad as correct terminology. And not strange definitions such as ‘birth parent” that schools teach as being the way for kids to address their mums and dads nowadays.

            Anyway, this reply has given me the opportunity for a little social blow off, of my own..

            I am sure you will make good decisions that fit your circumstances regardless of the tax residency implications.

            All the best.


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