In consultation the new rules for better service for taxpayers

In public consultation it was put on the reform of the Tax Procedure Code, presented last week by the political leadership of the Ministry of National Economy and Finance. The consultation will run until 8 April. The draft law includes a number of interventions that modernise the country’s tax system, exploit new technologies and strengthen the relationship of trust between State and citizen on tax issues. These include the implementation already since this year of the major reform for the exemption of 1 million taxpayers, who have income exclusively from wages and pensions, from the obligation to submit a tax declaration. In such cases the tax declaration will be automatically drawn up by the ADE and will also be finalised automatically, while the taxpayer will be able to raise objections within the time limit for submitting tax declarations. In detail, the basic provisions of the bill include the following: Pre-filled tax returns The procedure for drawing up and submitting tax returns is practically abolished for taxpayers who have income exclusively from salaries and pensions (calculated to 1 million citizens). The tax declaration shall be completed automatically by the ADE and shall also be finalised automatically if the taxpayer does not object within the time limit for submitting the tax returns. It is now only possible to supplement wage and pension incomes, but the declaration is not automatically finalized. Repeal Tax collectors who keep books based on the simplified accounting system (mainly skilled and small enterprises) are exempt from the obligation to provide their accounting records to the tax administration, provided that all relevant data (incomes – expenses) are transmitted to the myDATA platform. The previous scheme provides for a fine of EUR 2,500 not to produce the books. Further, the deadline for the provision of information, requested by ADE from taxpayers, is increased from 5 to 10 days. Digitalisation of procedures – Removal of correspondence to and from AADE – The communication of tax administration with taxpayers will be done exclusively by digital means. The written correspondence which has been applied so far is abolished to a large extent. All documents will be communicated by posting them on the account of any natural or legal person in the AADE information system. The taxpayer will receive a notification in his email and enter the information system with his passwords to obtain the document. It is noted that this procedure is already in place for a series of notices to the taxpayer (e.g. when an amount of income tax is paid, AADE sends an email to the taxpayer informing him to enter the information system to download the payment receipt). Communication with the “classical” methods (letters, performance, etc.) will only be done exceptionally in very specific cases. The main benefit of digitising the procedures, beyond their acceleration, is their accurate capture, thus the time, form and content of communication cannot be questioned, while also unloading the Courts. – Compliance with all tax administration records should also be done digitally while the written file of AADE containing the documents it issues and receives is digitized. The issue of tax information is adopted more quickly, interoperability between public bodies is adopted so that ADE is informed of the existence or non-executive debts of the citizen and, respectively, to grant the tax information certificate. In practical terms, by this regulation, in particular, OTAs and other public bodies will communicate with AADE only electronically (instead of the letters they exchange today), either to prohibit the performance of information or to lift this ban. Thus, cases are dealt with e.g. when the taxpayer has paid debts to the Municipality but cannot obtain tax information because AADE has not been informed of the repayment. Specific timeframe for tax audits A maximum time limit shall be set for the completion of the tax audit, in principle one year from the notification of the audit order with an extension option for 6 months if in the meantime the audit has started and another 6 months provided that the audit can be completed during this period. There is currently no provision for the maximum duration of the audit, which is determined by the officials carrying out it. The concepts of partial, complete, on-site or remote control are also clarified. Finally, the possibility of interim tax determination is established in cases where there is a combination of criteria from which a direct and imminent risk of tax evasion arises (e.g. seasonal newly established enterprises, or where there is specific evidence that the taxpayer intends to leave the country). Today, there is a provision in force for a preventive determination of the tax, but it does not apply in practice, as it only concerns cases where there is evidence of a departure from the country. Now, the provision becomes more specific and effective in its application. The possibility of intermediate tax determination was considered necessary by AADE as it is often observed that seasonal newly established enterprises operate for a short period of time and close from one day to another without paying a single euro tax. Minister of National Economy and Finance Kostis Hatzidakis said: “The Tax Procedure Code Bill is an important step forward in enhancing transparency, upgrading the service of the citizen and reducing bureaucracy. By exploiting the possibilities of modern digital technology and simplifying procedures, the relationship between the citizen and tax authorities is improving in practice.” Deputy Minister for National Economy and Finance Harry Theocharis said: “The new Tax Procedure Code has as its main aim the modernisation and simplification of citizens’ interface procedures with AADE. Speed, efficiency, practicality of procedures are the invisible but not less important aspect of tax justice. A bill that proves the practical will of the Government and the Ministry of National Economy and Finance to improve the everyday life of every Greek citizen.” Limitation The notification of the tax identification act must be made within the five years provided for in the limitation. Until now, it has been sufficient over the five years that the act has only been adopted and that it should be notified to the taxpayer.