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Greece, Chasing Tax Cheats, Will Replace Cash Registers With Virtual Versions

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(Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS – Unable by other means to hunt down enough tax cheats in a country where cash is still king in most places, Greece's New Democracy government said cash registers will be replaced with Virtual Cash Registers (VCR's) linked to tax offices.

Instead of paper receipts, customers will get their receipts via email or by text message, reported Kathimerini, although it wasn't said how a law requiring Point-of-Service (POS) machines in offices of professionals such as doctors could be enforced.

In many places with POS machines, the businesses or professionals tell customers and clients they aren't working or the Internet is done, demanding cash instead, which can be hidden from tax officials.

Successive Greek governments have tried a range of schemes, including a regulation customers don't have to pay if they don't get a receipt but that's easily gotten around in an agreement to provide a fee or product for a lower price without one.

The new online cash register software will prepare the receipt for issue and communicate in real time with the Independent Authority for Public Revenue which is charged with trying to hunt down tax evaders.

The issuing company will forward the details of each receipt and receive a unique registration number (MARK in Greek) that will confirm the validity of the transaction. The company will then be able to print, text or email the receipt, the report said.