Patrons will not have to pay bills unless given a receipt

Ministry preparing measure in bid to combat tax evasion By Dimitra Manifava

The Development Ministry is about to present a regulation according to which patrons at bars, restaurants, cafes and so on will be able to leave without paying unless they are given a legal receipt, in an effort to reduce tax evasion.

This unprecedented measure will form part of a set of interventions aimed at protecting consumers and facilitating doing business and may start to apply as of next week.

The new market rules, part of which are connected to Greece?s commitments in the bailout agreement with its creditors, include a regulation that gives consumers the right not to pay for the goods they have consumed or purchased, or services rendered if the retailer or service provider fails to produce a receipt that would validate the transaction. Restaurants, cafes etc will have to state that consumers have that right on their menus.

Deputy Development Minister Athanasios Skordas stated last week that the ministry was considering the measure but was also still examining how it could be best applied.

At retail stores selling industrial products (not including food) prices will have to be displayed both with and without value-added tax on signs as well as on receipts. Restaurant menus will also have to have prices shown both with and without VAT.

The ministry is also bringing baby milk for ages up to 6 months back to supermarket shelves. The sale of such products had been restricted to pharmacies this summer following a decision to that effect by the Council of State. Their sale had been liberalized from February to June 2012, which resulted in a decline in prices ranging from 3.23 to 20.37 percent, until pharmacists secured a decision stating that only they were qualified to sell it.

Supermarkets will also be able to sell newspapers, magazines and tobacco products.