In a bid to slow runaway tax evasion, Greece’s Development Ministry is ready to set forth a regulation that would customers who are refused receipts as bars, restaurants, shops and for service to have their food, drink, goods or work for free.
It’s common in Greece for businesses not to give receipts so they can avoid paying taxes, but tax cheats owe the country more than $70 billion at a time when it’s undergoing a crushing economic crisis and the government is readying another $17.45 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes while imposing more pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions.
The changes could apply soon as market rules connected to Greece’s commitment to international lenders who are putting up $325 billion in two bailouts to prop up the country’s floundering economy. They would give consumers the right not to pay for the goods they have consumed or purchased, or services rendered if the retailer or service provider fails to produce a receipt that would validate the transaction. Restaurants, cafes, bars, tavernas, coffee shops and other places serving food or drink will have to state that consumer right on their menus.
Deputy Development Minister Athanasios Skordas stated last week that the ministry was considering the measure but was also still examining how it could be best applied. At retail stores selling industrial products (not including food) prices will have to be displayed both with and without value-added tax on signs as well as on receipts. Restaurant menus will also have to have prices shown both with and without VAT.
The ministry is also bringing baby milk for ages up to six months back to supermarket shelves. Their sale had been restricted to pharmacies this summer following a decision to that effect by the Council of State after being liberalized from February to June 2012, which resulted in a decline in prices ranging from 3.23 to 20.37 percent, until pharmacists secured a decision stating that only they were qualified to sell it. Supermarkets will also be able to sell newspapers, magazines and tobacco products.