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Capital controls have limited tax evasion

08 November 2015 / 15:11:45  GRReporter
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Data show that, apart from a host of negative consequences, capital controls have triggered a positive fallout by limiting the informal economy. This has happened because card payments have seen a dramatic rise, which in turn has compelled companies to issue payment documents more often.

According to the Ministry of Finance, VAT revenues from the hotels, room rentals and catering sectors have undergone the following trend:

-       August 2013 – €19 million,

-       August 2014 – €18 million (despite the increasing numbers of tourists, tax collection was down due to weaker controls),

-       August 2015 – €29 million, i.e. an increase of €11 million or 61%.

This hike comes just a month after the imposition of capital controls, despite the fact that the economy was in recession compared to August of the previous year, when there was development.

Bank card payments have gone up 130% since the introduction of capital controls. This, of course, does not imply that all who received card payments did return the required cash receipts. On some of the popular islands, Ministry of Finance inspectors have found restaurants and bars sustaining huge disjunctions between the amounts paid through POS terminals and cash register-printed receipts.

The reasons for ampler VAT revenues are not, of course, restricted to capital controls. A great deal of companies were quick to pay their tax arrears through internet banking in an attempt to reduce their deposits and avoid possible cuts in them.

The Ministry of Finance is launching several measures aimed at bolstering electronic payments, some of them mandatory, e.g. massive installation of POS terminals, and some of them voluntary, e.g. coupling the non-taxable minimum with card payments.

Tags: capital controls gray economy bank cards internet banking VAT
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