A meeting of GSEVEE President G. Kavvathas with the Deputy Minister of Finance was held today. Mr Papanatsiou, in order to discuss topical tax issues relating to small businesses.
The President of GSEVEE reiterated the pressing problem that many businesses face regarding the mandatory installation of POS terminals until July 27, 2017, as there is a refusal of credit institutions to provide terminals or especially facilitate small businesses for their digital transformation. At the same time, due to the fact that there is no predictable business account and the high number of seizures and account bindings, businesses are quite cautious about adopting electronic payment instruments, and the adjustment costs are not negligible.
Mr Kavathas also pointed out the need to create more favorable terms for debt settlement, highlighted the value of the 72/100 voted arrangements and raised the issue of the effective settlement of public and private debt set-offs, as well as the establishment Tax-free limit for professionals.
The meeting was held in a climate of mutual understanding, the State Secretary said that support for small and medium-sized enterprises is a priority of the Ministry and that its staff is working on plans to simplify and facilitate tax procedures for the benefit of small businesses and professionals.
GSEVEE considers the transition to the digital era and the spread of electronic transactions as a strategic goal, but underlines that at present there are significant risks from the lack of a framework for the protection of small businesses, many of which due to the multiple cumulative burdens from 2010, Tend to prefer the formal cessation of activities and opt for their transfer to the informal sector of the economy, with obvious consequences for tax revenues, healthy competition and financial Or stability. GSEVEE invites the competent authorities (Tax Administration and Trade DG) and banks to take initiatives to facilitate and reduce the cost of business transition to the new digital age. POS terminals need to be reform tools rather than means of profits and market shares by small businesses.
The full text of the pleading is as follows:
Suggestions – GSEVEE Posts
TAX POLICY ISSUES
Small businesses, despite the major problems they faced with the implementation of capital controls and the disruption of the informal payment system that has occurred in recent years, seem to have shown a high degree of readiness. Despite the fact that they were significantly and heterogeneously affected by how capital controls were implemented, losing significant market shares, and having been burdened with significant commissions and charges on turnover for the supply and use of terminal machines, small businesses managed to integrate In their operation the use of electronic / plastic money responding to the new market needs.
According to the latest survey by IME GSEVEE, the percentage of enterprises that maintains POS electronic banking and terminal equipment for retail transactions has increased significantly since July 2015 (with the start of capitalcontrols). From 28.1% in July 2015, the percentage of enterprises that had POS in February 2017 was 52.4%.
However, there is a gradual slowdown in the adoption of electronic payment instruments by businesses, despite the fact that consumers are beginning to adapt to the new digital reality (in the last six months the growth trend was very weak, from 49% to 52.4%) .
In addition, it remains unclear how much the share of turnover generated by electronic payments, especially in small businesses, varies according to the rate of increase in tax liabilities and third-party attachment procedures. In the latest survey by IME GSEVEE, it was found that 33% of the turnover of small businesses is carried out through the use of POS.
In general, the absence of an effective fiscal incentive mechanism for businesses and consumers appears to have a negative impact on the adoption of friendly behavior towards electronic payment instruments. The seizure risks create a spiral of separation of many small businesses from the official banking system and avoiding conventional trading methods.
In a survey conducted between members of federations and first-level organizations, the following issues emerged:
1.Banks are delaying the terminal version when they assess that the business is not an attractive customer. Mandatory implementation of the terminal installation measure until July 27 in some occupation groups will result in fines of € 1,500, but it is unknown what happens if the fault for the non-commissioning of the terminal is borne by the banks or some other supplier. In the short term, the possibility of extending the obligation until the end of 2017 should be explored.
2.Account bindings / seizures lead companies to reverse choices, that is, a money-holding incentive is created outside the official banking sector, which negatively affects the deposit base, financial stability, tax revenues and normalization of economic relations in the market. The consequence of this is that the business, which has no bank account and has very few transactions with POS terminals (contrary to the declared objective of the tax authorities), gets a distortive comparative advantage.
3.Charges remain forbidding for certain categories of businesses, as they exceed 1%, while the maintenance and supply costs of the component should be taken into account. This is a modern form of a third-party tax. To address the high cost to customers and businesses, it is proposed to allow small businesses to use alternative machines that will accept tax cards or other forms of compliance and will send transaction data directly to the tax authority.
Proposal for a bad business account
GSEVEE considers the transition to the new digital era to be a very significant development by spreading electronic transactions at B2C and B2B levels. The adoption of electronic invoices and the spread of electronic banking will be a positive development for the whole economy. In addition to being able to immediately inform tax authorities about business revenue, it is possible to cross-check financial data and reveal incomes that would otherwise not have entered the system. Also, with electronic banking, the stability of the banking system is strengthened and conditions are created for the most immediate removal of capital controls, the return of liquidity and the improvement of market psychology. Lastly, there is a significant boost to the new prospects that can open up e-commerce even for small businesses, which can use more efficiently and attract newer customers more economically.
However, lately, tax administration’s actions aimed at collecting taxpayers’ tax arrears are intensified, apparently with a view to meeting the budgetary objectives and prerequisites of the third program. According to press reports and data we collect through IME GSEVEE, seizures of accounts are also noted for low debts. In addition to the uncertainty that causes such a move to the market, it essentially blurs the above ambitious endeavor of spreading electronic transactions as a means of increasing tax revenues, disclosing income, reducing tax evasion, promoting e-commerce, enhancing banking stability, reducing administrative costs for businesses and tax Authorities. Additionally, it makes the company hostage of all kinds of debts, without any possibility of improving its business position.
It is obvious that the revenue of the enterprise is not a net profit but is intended to cover a significant part of the liabilities: current employee and employer contributions, current taxes to the tax office, payroll, debts to suppliers, energy and travel costs, Various other charges. The blocking of an account means that there is a threat of declaring an economy unable to cover the entire chain of obligations with obvious effects on production and trade. This is a de facto closure situation for a business.
For all of the above reasons, GSEVEE underlines the need to establish a single unprofitable business account (either at a 3-year transition or a turnover), which will serve all the economic functions of the business and whose technical configurations can Be subject to certain criteria, such as turnover, debt, etc.
OTHER TAX ISSUES
THEMES OF AUTHORITY-TAX POLICY
1.Establish tax-free income for professional activity / equal treatment of taxpayers.
2.Extension of the measure of collection of evidence to all natural persons and professionals / traders.
3.Gradual reduction / removal / embedding of business fee.
4.Solving the problem of timely repayment of liabilities and deferred reporting by banking institutions to tax authorities. This problem creates a spiral of negative developments for the business that can lead to even loss of regulation and confiscation of all available funds, with possible suspension.
5.Increase in maximum turnover for non-taxable persons. Alternatively, for turnover up to € 30,000, the trader is treated in the same way as a natural person – a taxpayer.
6.Unblocking the possibility of transferring real estate / receiving payment from a public / and other operations for collecting and maintaining the tax arrangements. A similar direct procedure to follow for the tax refund procedure.