ECONOMY

TaxisNet opens late and not without problems

TaxisNet, the electronic portal for submitting tax declarations, opened on Friday afternoon after a delay of four days, in a year when almost all taxpayers will need to use the web to file their income tax statements.

The official deadline for submissions is June 30, but the delay in the opening of the portal and the fact that virtually all 6.5 million taxpayers have to go through TaxisNet (at www.gsis.gr) will almost certainly see the deadline extended well into July. This means that declarations will most likely not be processed before August, leading to many taxpayers possibly having to pay their tax in two, rather than three, installments.

There are very few exceptions to the rule saying that all taxpayers must submit their declarations electronically, which, according to a circular issued on Friday by Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis, will be at the discretion of the local tax office chief – generating still more bureaucracy.

It will be up to the tax officer to determine whether claims by taxpayers that they cannot use the Internet have merit or whether there is a technical problem that cannot be dealt with by the General Secretariat for Information Systems. In that case taxpayers will be allowed to submit their declarations on paper, as was the case up to last year. Statements for people who died in 2012 will also have to be submitted in paper form by their relatives to their local tax office.

TaxisNet access codes are the same as last year, so taxpayers who have obtained a personal code from previous years need not acquire a new one. The same code will be in use up to August 30 at least for the submission of all kinds of declarations besides income statements, according to the same circular.

Public sector pensioners, meanwhile, have sent a letter to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras protesting the abolition of their right to submit their tax declaration by hand if their annual income comes from just one source and does not exceed 12,000 euros. They argue that even though they have every inclination to meet their obligations they will be unable to file their income declarations this year because, for a variety of reasons, they cannot use the Internet for filling in and submitting their tax statements. They also say that have not been properly informed of the changes to the procedure or received an instruction guide.

There is also a good deal of confusion regarding the declaration of revenues from interest on bank deposits. The Finance Ministry is reportedly planning to ask taxpayers to declare all interest revenue that exceeds 250 euros on an annual basis, although no specific guidelines have been issued as yet.

There are several open questions in regards to this issue, such as what happens in the case of joint bank accounts and whether the amount that needs to be declared is before or after tax. At any rate, taxpayers will have to visit their bank and request a formal statement about the amount of interest paid into their accounts last year.

Banks, meanwhile, have rejected the government’s request to send the Finance Ministry details of the interest paid into each account saying they do not have enough time to compile this information, leaving it up to account holders to see to this task. Although interest has already been taxed, the interest will also be used to calculate the so-called “solidarity tax,” which all taxpayers have to pay and ranges between 1-4 percent of annual income.