ECONOMY

Taxpayers must boost card use or face fine

taxpayers-must-boost-card-use-or-face-fine

Taxpayers who fail to make online payments (by credit/debit card or e-banking) amounting to an increased rate of 30 percent of their declared incomes will pay a fine equal to 22 percent of the shortfall, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told Skai TV late on Thursday.

He added that, as of 2020, the measure will apply not only to salary workers, pensioners and farmers, but also to freelance professionals and taxpayers who earn a living by renting out properties.

For example, a property landlord with an annual income of 10,000 euros will have to make online payments of 3,000 euros. If his online payments only come to 2,000 euros, the fine due will be 22 percent of the 1,000 euros of difference – i.e. 220 euros of extra tax.

The minister also revealed that ideas have been expressed about introducing incentives for taxpayers to demand online receipts from specific categories of professionals seen as having high rates of tax evasion. Sources say one of the scenarios the ministry is examining is for certain receipts to count for double their value in the online payment requirement, such as those from from doctors, lawyers and electricians, among others, but it appears that this would be technically difficult to implement.

The new tax bill will likely be completed by Monday and put up for public consultation on Wednesday, so it can be tabled in Parliament in mid-November.

According to Staikouras, it will include the reduction of the income tax rate for incomes up to 10,000 euros from 22 to 9 percent, and a slight increase in the tax-free threshold for families with one child. The increase will be greater for households with more children.

Staikouras also confirmed the reduction of the corporate tax for this year from 28 to 24 percent (and to 20 percent for 2020), the halving of the tax on dividends from 10 to 5 percent, the suspension of value-added tax on buildings licensed since 2006, the exemption from income tax dues of 40 percent of the tax on payments for services related to home upgrades, and incentives to attract super-rich foreigners to the Greek tax registry.