A few weeks ago the UK’s Guardian newspaper commented on the emigration of many Greek companies to neighboring Bulgaria due to the crisis. However, it appears that most of these companies were set up just to enable their owners to buy a luxury car with Bulgarian license plates, so as avoid high taxation in Greece.
According to a report by the Commercial Affairs Office of the Greek Embassy in Sofia, the majority of the 9,000 Greek companies in Bulgaria, which increased by 50% from 2012 to 2013, are virtual.
Starting a business in Bulgaria isn’t an expensive or a time-consuming process. It costs no more than 400 to 500 euros, the registration process takes about 1o days while the annual maintenance cost amounts to 2,000-2,5000 euros.
Officials of financial crime squad report that most of the 18,000 cars with Bulgarian plates in Greece are illegal. Under the Greek law, cars can bear plates of another country only if their owners live there permanently or for a period of six months due to professional or family reasons.
It appears that many Greek citizens have found yet another way to avoid taxation. In Greece the owner of a car with 3,600 cc engines will have to pay a “luxury tax” of 3,500 euros, while in Bulgaria the similar tax amounts to 1,111 euros.