Tax-free thresh­old in the cards

Only pay­ments made with plas­tic money will count to­ward in­come tax­a­tion ex­emp­tion next year

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY PROKOPIS HATZINIKOLAOU

Al­ter­nate Fi­nance Min­is­ter Try­fon Alex­i­adis con­firmed yesterday that, as of next year, the sys­tem of col­lect­ing re­ceipts from cash pay­ments to en­joy the ben­e­fits of the in­come taxfree thresh­old will come to an end. In­stead, only those who spend at least 10 per­cent of their in­come us­ing credit or debit cards will qual­ify for the dis­count. This will in­clude pay­ments for med­i­cal ex­penses.

Alex­i­adis told ANT1 TV that “for 2015 we will con­tinue to col­lect re­ceipts, but we are con­sid­er­ing in­creas­ing the tax-free amount of the yearly in­come through the use of plas­tic money alone, in­clud­ing ex­penses such as med­i­cal bills.” He went on to say that be­cause doc­tors had com­fort­ably eased into the elec­tronic pre­scrip­tion sys­tem, they shouldn’t have any prob­lems en­ter­ing the card pay­ment sys­tem ei­ther.

To con­tinue to have part of their in­come ex­empted from tax, taxpayers will need to have spent an amount equal to 10 per­cent of their in­come us­ing a credit or debit card. There­fore, to have the tax-free thresh­old of 9,550 eu­ros, as is the case cur­rently, or 12,000 eu­ros, if that is the case as of next year, they must change the way they pay for prod­ucts and ser­vices from cash to plas­tic money. Cru­cially, it will be banks that will di­rectly in­form the tax author­i­ties of the pay- ments made through each tax­payer’s card on an an­nual ba­sis.

Taxpayers who don’t use credit or debit cards will likely miss out on a tax ex­emp­tion, although it is pos­si­ble some ex­cep­tions will be made for those who are un­able to do so.

The gov­ern­ment’s plan has the sup­port of the Hel­lenic Con­fed­er­a­tion of Com­merce and En­ter­prises (ESEE), whose pres­i­dent, Vas­silis Korkidis, stated yesterday that “en­ter­prises are not afraid of the prospect of a card-

1.1203 based tax-free thresh­old; they welcome it.”

Ad­dress­ing the 1st Athens Dig­i­tal Pay­ments Sum­mit, Alex­i­adis said the 2 per­cent com­mis­sion banks charge en­ter­prises for card trans­ac­tions is too high, adding that even the state does not im­pose such a high tax on en­ter­prises. Gen­eral Sec­re­tar­iat for Com­merce of­fi­cials say pres­sure is be­ing ex­erted on the Hel­lenic Bank As­so­ci­a­tion for the above com­mis­sion to be re­duced.

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