Bank customers who use credit or debit cards to pay for goods and services with money from their accounts will not have their deposits confiscated for debts to private parties, banks or the tax authorities, Alternate Minister of Finance Tryfon Alexiadis announced on Tuesday.
Addressing lawmakers in Parliament, Alexiadis spoke of the government’s plan to offer incentives for non-cash transactions. He said that money coming into the accounts of business owners who conduct transactions via payment cards will be protected from confiscation for debts to banks, other creditors or the tax authorities.
The alternate minister also announced there would be other incentives for taxpayers who use plastic money, such as prize lotteries, among others, as well as a reduction in the commission that card terminals charge for companies to use them.
Alexiadis emphasized that the ministry’s aim is for the country at large to enter the electronic era, first through the simplification of tax procedures and then by ending face-to-face dealings between tax offices and taxpayers: He said that the plan foresees tax offices being closed to taxpayers within 2016, with all tax affairs instead being dealt with online. He added that the ministry spent 11.5 million euros sending documents to taxpayers in 2014, although legislation has provided for electronic submission since 2013.
The changes related to the use of payment cards in everyday transactions will be incorporated into the draft law to be submitted this month in Parliament. The same bill will further include clauses regarding the voluntary declaration of hitherto undeclared incomes in Greece and abroad, with Alexiadis saying the ministry will do everything in its power to reveal as much as possible.