New card to net tax-dodging retailers

As of January 1, taxpayers will be able to pick up a card from banks that can be used to electronically record transactions as they shop. The data recorded on the card, which shoppers can use on an optional basis, will be passed on immediately to the Finance Ministry, which will update the taxpayer’s file with the information it has just received. Finance Ministry officials believe that the card will help boost state revenues, mainly from value-added tax, making it harder for business owners to conceal sales figures. Once they have picked up the card from the bank, taxpayers will need to inform the Finance Ministry of its 19-digit code in order to link it with their tax file number (AFM). The card will not display their AFM or any other personal details. Shoppers that want to record the value of their shopping transaction, which can be used to secure tax benefits, will present the card to the retailer as they pay. The retailer will swipe the card through the POS machine used for credit cards transactions and the information will then be passed onto the bank that has provided the machine. At the end of each month, the lender will send the information to the Finance Ministry. The ministry and the Hellenic Bank Association are expected to finalize incentives that will be used to encourage taxpayers to use the card in the next 10 days. On one side of the card, there will the Finance Ministry’s logo, along with the serial number, and on the other side will be a magnetic strip. According to Finance Ministry sources, taxpayers will be able to check what amounts they have passed through the cards on the Internet via the Taxisnet site.

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