20 February, 2010
One of the new measures introduced by the Greek government to diminish the public debts is to encourage the Greek taxpayers to bring receipts to the tax office when they declare the annual income to get tax reduction or tax return. Otherwise they cannot obtain the reduction that they used to get under the old system.
The legislation is almost retroactive, because the income we are going to declare in May refer to the income of last year, meaning that many receipts are from last year. As very few people are fully prepared to this change (most of us knew it, but the government widened at the last moment the range of receipts the tax-payers can bring in, most of the would-be useful receipts - receipts from supermarket, for example - had already gone to the bin.
Anyway, for this reason, the conscious taxpayers are now collecting receipts for almost anything other than rent or big purchases like house or car. BUT, the likewise conscious family-own shops/restaurants now try not to write receipt more than ever! The big shops or chain restaurants/cafeterias gave/give us always receipts as, in case of big enterprises, the persons who give us receipts do not have direct contact with the executives who are worrying about tax. Problem is more with small enterprises like family own restaurants, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers etc, because they are directly run by those people who declare the profit to the tax office. Obviously they have always declared less than what they actually earned and now they are worrying if they cannot do it anymore, when the customers bring their receipts to the tax office.
Consequently a bakery near our flat, that used to give us always receipts, did not, when I went there a few days ago. I told this story to some friends and found out that they are all experiencing the same phenomenon.
It is annoying if I have to ask for receipt every time I shop and eat, but, alas, I have to do it to save my and the state's economy.