By Prokopis Hatzinikolaou
The reduction in the number of receipts taxpayers will have to collect in 2014 could become a real trap for them, as a senior Finance Ministry official told Kathimerini that the new system may demand fewer receipts than this year – amounting to 10 percent of annual income – but those receipts will have to be targeted as they must come from professional categories that rank high in the tax evasion list.
According to the regulation that cleared Parliament last Saturday, for 2014 incomes, taxpayers will have to collect receipts equal to one-tenth of their takings, down from a quarter as has been the case in recent years. If the sum of the receipts presented to tax authorities is below the required threshold, taxpayers will have to pay a fine equal to 22 percent of the difference.
For example, for an income of 20,000 euros per year, a taxpayer must collect receipts from products or services adding up to 2,000 euros. There will be no bonus if they collect over 2,000 euros of receipts, but if they only collect 1,500 euros, they will pay a fine equal to 22 percent of the 500-euro shortfall, or 110 euros.
There is, however, a big catch: Taxpayers will only be able to use receipts from specific categories of services and products they have paid for, such as those from car repair shops, plumbers, electricians, lawyers, medical doctors, cafeterias, bars and restaurants.
The problem is that for the majority of households, most of their spending goes toward supermarkets and generally on the coverage of basic needs. That means that a salary worker with two children is highly unlikely to collect the necessary receipts, let alone a pensioner, as they tend to consume only the essentials.
The Finance Ministry has decided to change the system because supermarkets and department stores always issue receipts, while many self-employed professionals do not.