The island’s Tax Department will boost efforts aiming to put the brakes on tax evasion within the coming next months. In fact, it will adopt a new tax policy which is to give the Department additional weapons to put an end to “black” money.
The new measures include a mandatory instalment of credit card receiving machines so that cash payment only comes to an end. A decree issued by the Tax Commissioner will specify all companies or legal entities that will be obliged to accept credit card payments and those to be exempted.
Insiders told Phileleftheros the draft decree provides that 75 business sectors and legal entities will be required to accept credit card payments. These include sectors considered to be of high tax risk – something that the Auditor General’s Office has repeatedly noted in annual reports.
Among companies or entities that will have to accept mandatory credit, debit and prepaid card payments are: law firms, accounting offices, hospitals, dentists and businesses specialising in general and specialist medical professions.
In addition, card payments will also apply to those providing human health services, to nurses caring for stay-at-home patients, and to individuals who take car of elderly people or with intellectual or physical disabilities.
Credit cards should also be accepted at all nurseries and kindergartens, gyms, amusement parks, theme parks, betting and gambling agencies, dining, entertainment and leisure facilities as well as hairdressing salons, according to the draft decree.
Also, by those providing motor vehicle repair services, plumbers and air conditioning installations as well as all retail businesses.
After the decree is enforced, businesses and entities should clearly inform customers that they accept payment by cards. And the special terminal should be installed within three months from the date of issuance of the relevant decree. The Tax Department’s responsibility will include insoections and imposition of fines.
In the meantime, ongoing debate on this issue which continued on Monday before the House Finance Committee again failed to reach common ground between the Tax Department and representatives of The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus.
Specifically, the accountants disagree with the decriminalisation of non-payment of tax and the 18-month period for submitting revised tax returns. They want this period to be extended to 72 months.
The ICPAC also raises reservations over the bill’s proposed unannounced on-the-spot inspection.
In addition, the ICPAC wants some 80,000 companies to be removed from the Registrar, but the Tax Department disagrees because these have either not filed tax returns or still owe taxes.