Penalties Not Working, Greece Plans Debit, Credit Card Incentives


(File photo by Eurokinissi/Giannis Panagopoulos)

ATHENS – Penalizing people and businesses, professionals and services for not accepting debit cards – they often say their Point of Service (POS) machines or the Internet isn't working – Greece's Finance Ministry is going to try offering incentives instead.

For now that's being set for some professional categories, according to a SKAI TV report which said penalties haven't been effective without explaining why not and if tax inspectors have been imposing fines or letting people and businesses slide.

The incentives include a 5-10 percent tax deduction for online payments so that the government can track spending and taxable use or a points system that will return money to consumers at the end of financial years the report said.

The taxpayer bonus will be for any payments by credit or debit card to professional sectors considered the worst offenders for not accepting them in violation of the law as they try to evade paying taxes.

They include hairdressers and barbers, medical doctors, physiotherapists, car repair shops, plumbers, electricians, various technicians, bars, restaurants, gyms and other services notorious for ducking taxes and not giving receipts, another violation overlooked.

The ministry is also said to be mulling other measures to combat tax evasion and illegal trade such as changing a tax lottery that grants 1,000 euros ($1,083) to 1,000 taxpayers drawn at the end of each month to provide bigger rewards to fewer taxpayers each time.