BUSINESS

Gov’t tables plan over additional incentives for plastic money use

PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

TAGS: Finance, Taxation

The government’s plan for a long-awaited bill on incentives to encourage Greeks to use credit or debit cards includes an additional tax-free amount for taxpayers who use them for more than 80 percent of their annual expenditure, tax discounts for medical expenses paid by card, and new limits for electronic transactions between corporations.

The plan has been submitted to the country’s creditors but has not yet received their approval. It has 12 main points:

- Whether a taxpayer qualifies for a tax-free threshold of 1,900-2,100 euros depends on how much their payments by card come to as a percentage of all spending.

- Medical expenses paid with cards qualify for a tax discount.

- Additional tax-free amount for those who use cards for more than 80 percent of their total spending.

- Taxpayers who spend over a certain amount using cards or other electronic means – which will depend on income – will also receive tickets for lottery-type draws (e.g. for every extra 1,000 euros they will get one ticket).

- Permanent residents of Aegean islands that have lost the 30 percent value-added tax discount will get an additional tax-free amount for the amount spent using cards on those islands.

- Some categories of taxpayers, such as over-65s and those in remote parts of the country, will be exempted from the obligation to pay via cards.

- Compulsory acceptance of card payment by all professionals, enforced gradually based on location and profession.

- Further reduction to limits on all cash transactions.

- Online supply of data to the Finance Ministry by payment service providers and receiving banks active in Greece.

- Extra incentives to promote online payments, such as lotteries with state properties up for grabs, money return for transactions in specific professional categories etc.

- Compulsory salary payment via banks for annual salaries over 500 euros.

- Online connection of tills with the Finance Ministry for the electronic transfer of all tax-related data in wholesale and retail transactions.

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