Greece scores poorly on property tax ranking but beats Spain; Italy in last place

Greece has scored poorly on a global ranking assessing the competitiveness of property taxes, in a list put together by US based Tax Foundation, but managed to score better than Spain and Italy, which finished in last place.

The list showed that out of 37 OECD countries assessed, Greece was in 29th position, followed by Spain and Italy that landed in the last two positions (36th and 37th place). Turkey racked up the best score, taking 22nd position, while Estonia and New Zealand topped the global list.

When it came to an overall assessment of the competitiveness of each country’s tax system, similar patterns appeared.

Greece was in position number 29 (unchanged from the previous 2019 ranking).

According to the Tax Foundation, Greece's strengths are: personal tax rate of 5 percent on dividends is below the OECD average of 23.9 percent, labor tax complexity is below the OECD average, controlled foreign corporation rules in Greece are modest and only apply to passive income.

On the downside, weaknesses are: Greece has an above-average corporate tax rate of 24 percent (OECD average is 23.3 percent), companies are severely limited in the amount of net operating losses they can use to offset future profits, and companies cannot use losses to reduce past taxable income, at 24 percent, Greece has one of the highest VAT rates in the OECD on one of the narrowest bases.

Spain was in position number 30, the same as in 2019, with the following scorecard:


Spain provides for net operating losses to be carried forward indefinitely, allowing for corporations to be taxed on their average profitability.

• Spain has a territorial tax system that exempts both foreign dividends and capital gains income from taxation.

• The Spanish tax treaty network is made up of 93 countries.


• The VAT of 21 percent applies to less than half of the potential tax base.

• Spain has multiple distortionary property taxes with separate levies on real estate, net wealth, and estates.

• Spain has both a patent box and a credit for Research and Development.

Meanwhile, Italy held on to last place, position number 37, with the following characteristics:


• Italy has above-average cost recovery provisions for investments in intangibles.

• Last-In-First-Out treatment of the cost of inventory is allowed.

• Italy has a broad tax treaty network, with 100 countries.


• Italy has multiple distortionary property taxes with separate levies on real estate, net wealth, estates, and financial transactions.

• The VAT rate of 22 percent applies to the third narrowest tax base in the OECD.

• Compliance with the personal income tax system takes 169 hours on average, highest by far in the OECD (the OECD average is 66 hours).

The Tax Foundation’s International Tax Competitiveness Index (ITCI) measures the degree to which the 37 OECD countries’ tax systems promote competitiveness through low tax burdens on business investment and neutrality through a well-structured tax code. The ITCI considers more than 40 variables across five categories: Corporate Taxes, Individual Taxes, Consumption Taxes, Property Taxes, and Cross-border Tax Rules.

The ITCI attempts to display not only which countries provide the best tax environment for investment but also the best tax environment to start and grow a business.