The legal framework for setting up a company branch is set under the following laws:
Many of the requirements and procedures for opening a secondary establishment are the same as for starting up a business.
The following procedures should be followed when opening a branch:
- define the purpose of the branch, its name and the location of its headquarters;
- a notarial deed or consular agreement needs to be drawn up appointing a proxy and a company representative in Greece. These two can be the same person;
- proof by a competent authority in the country where the headquarters are established needs to be obtained that the company has not been dissolved and its certificate of incorporation has not been revoked;
- an authorisation certificate needs to be obtained for the individuals representing the foreign company at its headquarters;
- an attestation for the share capital paid needs to be acquired, along with the registration number of the company (which needs to be sent to the headquarters);
- a cash receipt voucher for the publication of the notice of approval in the Government Gazette also needs to be obtained.
In the case of a factory, workshop or warehouse, etc. that belongs to an LLC, PLC or a Cooperative company, the following conditions should be met (after establishing the main office/headquarters):
- the opening of the branch or store must be decided upon (the decision may be proven by an excerpt of the minutes of the General Meeting [for an LLC] or those of the Board of Directors [for a PLC or a cooperative company]);
- a modification certificate should be issued for setting up a branch etc., by the competent tax office located in the proximity of the company's headquarters (the certificate is issued by the tax office);
- the branch must be registered at the chamber of commerce which has jurisdiction over its establishment;
- the accounts and information from the Book and Information Code pertaining to the branch must be approved by the competent tax office;
- an operating licence must be issued. This is necessary for the branch to be able to carry out certain activities;
- branch establishment procedures, submission of supporting documentation, registration, etc. must also be completed.
Many of the requirements and procedures for opening a branch are the same as those for starting up a business.
The Services Directive: Points of single contact
The Services Directive is a European law that aims to make life easier for businesses that wish to provide services in the European Union – in their home country or abroad. The Directive defines the rules that apply to entrepreneurs wishing to establish a business or perform temporary services in the EU/EEA area (the 27 EU member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). It obliges member states to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, simplify formalities for businesses and make public administrations more efficient.
For the implementation of the Directive, each member state had to set up ‘Points of Single Contact (PSC)’ , e-government portals which help businesses complete their administrative procedures on-line. The PSCs provide comprehensive information on all administrative matters related to setting up or expanding a services business in a given country. This includes for example:
- Which licences, notifications or permits do I need to obtain to start a business (at home or abroad)?
- What do I need to do when I want to offer my services abroad on a temporary basis?
- What do I need to do to apply for a licence? Which authority is responsible?
- Are the licences subject to a fee? What kinds of deadlines apply?
- Which acts and decrees apply in my sector?
- What do I need to do to establish, for instance, a restaurant or a shop? Or to work as a tour operator in another country without actually setting up a company?
- Where can I turn for personalised advice and further information?
With the PSCs, you no longer need to approach various authorities one by one!! The PSC allows you to find all relevant information and to send in your online applications to the responsible authority through one single contact point, the PSC. You can complete your administrative formalities electronically through the PSC. Just contact the PSC of the country that you want to do business in.
All PSCs are part of the European EUGO network; through a central website you can easily access all PSCs in Europe. Of course, the services of the PSCs are optional. You may always address yourself directly to the relevant authorities, too.