Home » today » Business » The 11 changes brought by the new tax code bill – 2024-04-16 01:03:58

The 11 changes brought by the new tax code bill – 2024-04-16 01:03:58

Completed in first reading, in the competent committee of the Parliamentthe elaboration of the bill of the Ministry of Finance for the modernization of the “Code of Tax Procedure”, which was passed by a majority.

The ND was in favor of the principle of the bill, while all the Opposition parties, except the KKE which declared that they would vote against, reserved their position in the Plenary.

The Minister of Finance, Kostas Hatzidakis spoke about 11 key innovative and significant changes which contribute to the further modernization of the tax system, enhancing transparency, creating relationships of trust between citizens and authorities and contributing to the development of the Greek economy.

For their part, the opposition parties focused their criticism on the exorbitant fines imposed for small amounts and human errors, while they stressed the need for necessary clarifications of certain provisions.

According to Mr. Hatzidakis, with this new legislative initiative of the government, 11 basic changes occur:

  • first: the finalization of tax returns for those with incomes exclusively from wages and pensions is also established in the code,
  • secondly: the obligation to present books and relevant data to the tax office for self-employed and small businesses is abolished as long as these are transmitted to mydada,
  • thirdly: digital technologies are fully utilized in the communication between taxpayers and civil society organizations and only exceptionally in very special cases will the classic methods continue,
  • fourth: a specific time frame is set for tax audits, so that the concepts of partial, full on-site or remote audit are not timed and clarified,
  • fifth: the possibility of intermediate tax determination is established, putting an end to mockery of the mechanism by often seasonal, newly established businesses that operate for a short period of time and close without paying a single euro of tax,
  • sixth: the suspension of the VAT number and the provision of a guarantee in the event of its recovery is extended to those who commit smuggling or falsification of products subject to consumption tax,
  • seventh: a significant backlog for 230,000 citizens’ arrangements that were in a “grey zone” is settled by technical settlement;
  • eighth: the rules concerning the loss of arrangements are clarified from now on and the possibility of payment and settlement of debts out of arrangement within three months is given,
  • ninth: a discount of 25% to 50% is provided for fines for taxpayers who will accept the debts that have arisen after a tax audit,
  • tenth: the possibility of late amending declaration is provided and
  • eleventh: the decision of the Council of State concerning the notification of the act of tax determination is institutionalized and the five-year limits work in favor of the taxpayer.

Theocharis: What are the goals?

The Deputy Minister of Finance, Haris Theocharis, pointed out that “the aim of the bill is to modernize and upgrade the tax code that was passed in 2014 and is the result of close cooperation with AADE and its 10 years of experience”.

“Innovative”, Mr. Theoharis described, “the provision that is established for the first time and concerns the suspension of the VAT number” which, as he said, “strengthens the network of protection against smuggling phenomena while the offender is serving his sentence”.

As a big important change, he proposed the automatic reduction of proportional fines that reaches up to 50% if the debt has been accepted, noting that “it is a transparent and clean process that gives the possibility of compromise”.

In closing, Mr. Theoharis stated that “based on the data available to him, the Ministry of Finance estimates that “the interconnection of POS with cash registers in the Greek market is progressing successfully”.

“The government showed as much understanding as it could because there were technical problems. But now all this has been resolved. We have said it from the beginning and we will not get tired of repeating it: The interconnection of POS with cash registers is a very important reform, for the fight against tax evasion and the enforcement of the law in the market, in harmonizing Greece with the European Union. A reform that will go ahead at all costs. The fact that today 90% have connected or have planned an appointment for the connection is satisfactory, but not enough. Therefore, I make a final appeal to all those who have not completed the process, to hurry. Not only because the fines are high in case of non-compliance, but also because the interconnection of POS and cash registers is already the new reality and the new normality in our country”, concluded Mr. Theocharis.

What did the agency representatives say?

Earlier, the head of the Independent Public Revenue Authority, Giorgos Pitsilis, spoke of a bill with significant changes, which reflects the Authority’s 10-year experience in implementing the tax code. “It is a quality step to renew, modernize, and rationalize the controls by increasing their effectiveness, in the context of the Recovery Fund projects,” he noted.

As Mr. Pitsilis said, “the digitization of communication between taxpayers and tax authorities is set as a rule and the relationship of trust between them is established.”

The president of the Hellenic Chamber of Commerce, Konstantinos Kolias, spoke of positive provisions, stressing at the same time “the need for corrective changes” while he called it “unthinkable to impose fines and penalties for not submitting a declaration when the electronic system is not yet fully operational”.

He also reiterated “the permanent request of the Chamber to give the possibility to debtors of overdue debts to rejoin in a new arrangement those who had lost the previous one”, as well as “for the disciplinary body of the sector to judge and decide on the imposition of penalties and sanctions, as is the case in other professional branches’.

Dimitris Christoforakis, general secretary of the Panhellenic Federation of Tax Professionals, called for clarification of concepts and improvement changes, stressing, among other things, that “the sanctions imposed are on the just and the unjust and disproportionate and will cause a question of survival for small businesses”.

“The penalties must be balanced. A good, brave 120-dose regimen is necessary,” he added.

Antonis Megoulis, director and legal advisor of the Hellenic Confederation of Trade and Entrepreneurship, spoke of “positive provisions that partially satisfy the industry”, stressing that “however, it does not regulate the unreasonable penalties for negligible amounts of debt or late declarations” and added that” a brave arrangement needs to be made more flexible with more installments, which will ensure the success of debt repayment.

“Better legislation”, demanded the representative of the Federation of Police Officers, Grigoris Gerakarakos, stressing that “it is far from the government announcement for practical support for parents while performing their duty”.

For his part, Anastasios Tsoukalalis, president of the Panhellenic Federation of Retired Soldiers, expressed reservations, pointed out that there is a need for clarification regarding the payment of compensation to relatives of victims who are unmarried and lost their lives while on duty, but also to make it clear that this amount is not taxed and that the Greek government undertakes the servicing of his loan, until it is repaid.

Panagiotis Pantelis, representative of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, emphasized the need to give more time for the submission of tax returns for small and medium-sized businesses, to establish a brave regulation for overdue debts and to make the necessary rationalization of fines.

Nikitas Bellas, deputy head of the Department of Organization, Planning and Studies of the Deposit and Loan Fund, was in favor of the amendments as they ensure not only the revenues of the Fund – which was off the market since 2014 – but also of the State while also preventing the inflation of problems.

For “positive and important provisions of the bill”, Chariklia Apalagaki, Acting General Director of the Union of Greek Banks, spoke, noting that “it comes to solve the big problem of debtor borrowers who were in a “grey zone”.

Source: RES-MPE

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