The Finance Ministry appears to have realized it made a big mistake when it stopped imposing fines on enterprises which fail to issue receipts. The growth of tax evasion is forcing the government to introduce stricter fines while also ordering the activation of business-closing measures (for up to a month) for not issuing receipts.
Alternate Minister Tryfon Alexiadis told Vima FM radio on Friday that inspections will increase to root out tax violations, mainly in areas popular with tourists. The interventions will primarily concern fines, and will likely also see businesses being forced to provide their customers with machines for card payments.
Alexiadis went on to acknowledge the problem of very low fines for enterprises that fail to issue receipts, saying this will be tackled with increased inspections and with legislative interventions. He did add however that high fines had been tried in the past without any real impact on tax evasion.
On value-added tax takings, the alternate minister stated that revenues were above target in the first five months of the year. Alexiadis said that during that period VAT on the islands is usually below target due to low tourism numbers, but that it is recouped in the summer. That is why, he said, VAT takings from the islands have missed their target by 9.8 percent in the year to end-May. For the same reason, the shortfall in January-May 2015 had come to 18 percent, and in 2014 to 28 percent. However, he did not explain why the ministry had not set lower targets for the islands for the first five months of the year.