BUSINESS

Confusion over receipt collection

By Prokopis Hatzinikolaou

The prime minister and the Finance Ministry are concerned over leaks regarding a measure for collecting receipts from the payment of goods and services as new ideas for combatting tax evasion are being hammered out, according to sources.

The government has had to go back to the drawing board on the issue of receipts after the original plan by the Finance Ministry for just 50 percent of the value of receipts from enterprises not associated with evasion – such as supermarkets, department stores and gasoline stations – to be taken into account upon the submission of the income tax statement, provoked strong reactions.

A senior Finance Ministry official said on Thursday that the proposal for calculating only half of the value of receipts from such businesses has been abandoned on the order of minister Yannis Stournaras. Ministry officials have since submitted various ideas and the government is expected to issue a decision within the coming weeks – following the prime minister’s approval – over which receipts will count toward forming a tax-free level to one’s income.

One of the ideas being mulled by the ministry is exempting pensioners from the measure, meaning they might not have to collect receipts representing up to 10 percent of their income this year. Their exemption will be decided if the ministry orders that not all receipts will be included, with a preference to receipts from professional categories that rank high in the tax evasion league.

Another scenario provides for the maintenance of the existing system, but with far fewer receipts than in 2013. According to the regulation passed for 2014 incomes, taxpayers will have to collect receipts equal to 10 percent of their annual income, down from 25 percent that applied up to 2013. Failure to do so may result in a fine.

Greece’s creditors have repeatedly pushed the government to find ways to contain tax evasion by doctors, lawyers and most self-employed professionals. In this context the ministry is set to issue a circular in the coming days describing all the categories of expenditure taxpayers must collect receipts for, and which expenses are exempt.

Online