Greece’s VAT reform: What you need to know

Joanna Hysi
October 23, 2023

Greece’s VAT reform started back in 2020 and it has manifested itself in three continuous transaction control (CTC) initiatives.

Namely, the initiatives are:

  • myDATA e-audit scheme
  • Voluntary CTC e-invoicing, performed through service providers who must meet certain certification criteria
  • New generation cash registers which report B2C data to myDATA in real time

Recently, the introduction of an e-transport mandate was included in the country’s VAT reform strategy, although not much detail has been published yet.

More progress has been made in implementing the myDATA scheme and the new cash registers than for CTC e-invoicing. However, in the last few months, the authorities have taken steps towards setting up the right framework to make CTC e-invoicing – which is currently voluntary for B2B transactions – mandatory for all.

myDATA e-audit reform

myDATA went live as a voluntary system in 2020 and followed a gradual implementation timeline which is ongoing. It is an e-audit system that requires taxpayers to report transactional and accounting data to the tax administration, in real-time or periodically, which populates a set of online ledgers maintained on the government portal. The goal of myDATA is for the online ledgers to be the only source of truth of the taxpayer’s tax and financial results, and for their respective information to pre-fill the taxpayer’s VAT returns and financial statements.

Greece’s myDATA is a reporting obligation of ledger-type data and it is not to be confused with e-invoicing as it doesn’t require invoices to be issued and exchanged in electronic form. Greece allows for invoices (in B2B transactions) to be issued and exchanged on paper or electronically following the standard e-invoicing rules of the EU VAT Directive.

B2B e-invoicing reform in Greece

In parallel with the roll-out of myDATA, the authorities established an accreditation framework for e-invoicing service providers and introduced a voluntary e-invoicing scheme involving accredited entities. These entities are accredited by the government to perform certain functions, namely:

  • Issuance of invoices according to certain format and content requirements
  • Protection of integrity and authenticity of the invoice
  • Reporting to myDATA according to the specifications
  • Compliant archiving of e-invoices and delivery to the buyer may also be performed

To encourage the uptake of CTC e-invoicing, the government provided several incentives to businesses to use e-invoicing facilitated through accredited service providers. It also obliged businesses who opt for CTC e-invoicing to use no other methods to fulfil the myDATA requirements e.g., ERP reporting, except through accredited service providers. This implies that a business selecting CTC e-invoicing for its B2B transactions must use the same method for issuing and reporting all other invoices, including B2G transactions, and vice versa.

B2G e-invoicing reform in Greece

CTC e-invoicing became mandatory for B2G transactions on 12 September 2023 for VAT-registered suppliers to certain government agencies. The mandate will continue to roll out in phases with the next main milestone coming up in January 2024. This obligation covers the vast majority of public contracts, from defence and security to general supplies and services, with some exceptions (e.g. contracts in defence and security which are classified as secret).

With the introduction of the B2G e-invoicing mandate, the use of CTC e-invoicing has indirectly become mandatory for B2B transactions too, encompassing both issuance and reporting to myDATA. It means that businesses in the scope of the B2G e-invoicing mandate have the obligation to use CTC e-invoicing through accredited e-invoicing service providers to issue and report both their B2B and B2G e-invoice flows to myDATA.

While a B2B e-invoicing mandate cannot be introduced without prior approval by the European Commission, the Greek Ministry of Finance announced that it has started a dialogue with the Commission to discuss the conditions required to implement a nationwide mandate.

Although an ambitious timeline, the Ministry envisions a full implementation of a B2B e-invoicing mandate within 2024.

Looking ahead

Clearly, Greece’s CTC initiatives are in line with the EU paradigm shift towards increased governmental control over transactional and accounting data – it recognises the benefits of tighter tax compliance and taking steps to close its tax gap.

Significant progress has been made, with myDATA operational since 2021. With the addition of CTC e-invoicing and the e-transport mandate in the VAT reform strategy, the Greek government and businesses face a demanding period in the coming years.

Need help with the current VAT reform in Greece? Our expert team can help.

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Author

Joanna Hysi

Joanna is a Senior Regulatory Counsel at Sovos. Based in Stockholm and originally from Greece, Joanna’s background is in commercial and corporate law with research focus on EU law and financial innovation. Joanna earned her degree in Law in Greece and her masters in Commercial and Corporate from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in London.
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