Tax Residents & Receipts

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Kilkis
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Tax Residents & Receipts

Postby Kilkis » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:51 am

Anybody who has bought items through Amazon in the UK for direct delivery to Greece will be aware that Amazon deduct the UK VAT and apply Greek ΦΠΑ instead. I queried this with Amazon and, in particular, asked if this ΦΠΑ was remitted to Greece. Indeed it is. If you look carefully at the invoice near the bottom of the page in the small print there is a Greek ΦΠΑ registration number 998770297. At least when you pay 6.5 % on books, where you would have paid nothing in the UK, and 3 % more on other items you can sleep easy knowing you are contributing to the Greek economy.

For those of us who are tax resident and have to keep receipts for at least 25 % of declared (or imputed) income, the Amazon receipts can be included. A couple of days ago I also read somewhere, although I can't remember where, that the Greek tax authorities would now also accept other receipts for goods bought in other EU member states. Perhaps the Commission pointed out to them that if they demanded receipts from their citizens but would only accept Greek issued receipts they were effectively restricting their citizens freedom to buy anywhere in the EU. Who knows but if they do now accept receipts from any EU member state it does make it a bit easier to meet the 25 % requirement. I don't know what other members have experienced but I have found, as austerity has bitten deeper and deeper, that many establishments that used to issue receipts as a matter of course have now stopped doing so. Exactly the opposite of what the tax authorities are trying to achieve.

Good to know that the Law of Unintended Consequences continues to rule.

Warwick

Roussa
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Postby Roussa » Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:37 pm

I´ve also read that we can now use receipts from other EU countries. But our accountant told me I have to prove that the item was paid from a Greek bank account ????

For every package cigarettes I now get a receipt.But the bigger and more expensive an item is the rarer a receipt is issued :wink:

Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:31 pm

Since all my income arises in the UK, it is all declared to the Greek tax authorities and the appropriate tax is paid on all of it in Greece, I don't see why it should matter which bank account is used to pay for a purchase. In reality purchases are mainly paid for by credit card.

In theory I could buy every single thing I needed from the UK and only move enough money to Greece to pay utility bills and taxes. That would be completely in accordance with EU law, if a little impractical. If the Greek tax authorities imposed rules designed to prevent me from doing that, they would be in breach of EU rules not me.

I'll check with my accountant the next time I see him. I gather he's a bit busy at the moment.

Warwick

Reg
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Location: Kokkino Chorio

Postby Reg » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:59 pm

Kilkis, do the tax authorities ever actually ask for receipts? If they are serious about it they ought to, but its a massive burden on ordinary people.

I must say in my experience since 2008, there has been a tendency for more shops and tavernas to give receipts.

Reg

Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:50 pm

Reg wrote:Kilkis, do the tax authorities ever actually ask for receipts?


Yes, if they decide to do a tax audit on you. I had to present them in 2011 for the 2010 tax year. They were talking about doing an audit again this year for the 2012 return but in the end decided not to. Both cases were because I submitted significant private medical expenses. They also talked about doing an audit in 2012 for the 2011 tax year, because I had asked for double taxation forms for the first time, but again they decided not to.

For the 2010 audit I submitted over 400 receipts totalling around €11,000. To carry out a meaningful audit they would have to cross check every single one of those receipts against the company copy of the till receipt for the same purchase to ensure that the company had included it on its tax return. A pretty non trivial task. I think they are just using the following theory:

1 I will always ask for receipts because I will be afraid that I will lose my tax free allowance.
2 If everybody always asks for receipts, companies will issue receipts for every item they sell.
3 Having issued receipts, companies will always declare honestly what they have sold because it is technically possible to cross check any particular receipt in this way.

Reality is somewhat different:

1 I know in advance pretty much exactly what my income will be for the year so I know what value of receipts I need to collect.
2 I collect receipts from companies that normally issue them and always have done.
3 I keep track of progress on receipts collected through the year and their total value so I know if I am likely to meet the 25 % target or not.
4 I might consider asking for receipts if I thought I wouldn't meet the 25 % requirement. So far this has never happened.

This year I am looking like I might be a bit tighter than usual, which is why I was interested in the possibility of using foreign receipts. I always buy some goods through the Internet from the UK and always get receipts. I also typically visit the UK twice per year and can easily collect receipts for everything I spend while I am there plus a few extras from my son.

Warwick

Rej
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Postby Rej » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:42 pm

Our accountant told us to keep our receipts for 7 years. When I was putting this year's batch away I opened an envelope containing receipts from 3 years ago. 75% of them had faded to the point of virtual illegibility. So, whose problem is that going to be if we are ever audited?

altohb
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Postby altohb » Fri Aug 23, 2013 3:50 pm

Rej wrote:Our accountant told us to keep our receipts for 7 years. When I was putting this year's batch away I opened an envelope containing receipts from 3 years ago. 75% of them had faded to the point of virtual illegibility. So, whose problem is that going to be if we are ever audited?


Yours, I imagine :roll: I enter all of ours onto a spreadsheet, so I hope that would help with the problem, but I guess that if "they" decided to be awkward we/you/whoever would have trouble proving what had been spent. The only receipts I have which don't fade are those from companies which use computer print-outs, rather than standard tills, or the hand-written variety. I was self employed in the UK, so had the same problem there with receipts fading but, fortunately, never had to produce them.

Reg
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Postby Reg » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:43 pm

I am amazed they check. I wonder whether anywhere else in the world there is this requirement. I cant help but think their time would be best spent tackling obvious areas of tax evasion. Glad I don't have to keep receipts - at least for now.

Reg

ScotinCrete
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Postby ScotinCrete » Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:03 am

Very common for business' - difference is the majority of transactions are electronic in 'most' countries. They are trying to push this in Greece - > 1500 euros - as it leaves a clear audit trail. If they could stop the banks charging for the card and then charging both the buyer and the seller for each transaction :roll:

peebee
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Postby peebee » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:43 am

I was told by my accountant back in April, that it is no longer a requirement to keep ANY receipts.

Kilkis
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Postby Kilkis » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:32 am

peebee wrote:I was told by my accountant back in April, that it is no longer a requirement to keep ANY receipts.


As far as I am aware:

1 If you are tax resident, it IS a requirement to keep receipts to the value of 25 % of declared (or imputed) income. If you don't then you will be taxed on the shortfall.
2 If you are NOT tax resident then it is NOT a requirement to keep receipts.

ScotinCrete wrote:...If they could stop the banks charging for the card and then charging both the buyer and the seller for each transaction :roll:


My Greek VISA credit card has never charged me for transactions as a buyer.

It used to charge me an annual fee but they stopped this year and claimed that they would not be charging it again. This followed a disagreement about how much they had charged this year so I don't know if it is a special case or if they are moving in that direction.

I don't know if they still do but the Greek American Express used to waive the annual fee if you spent more than a certain amount on it in each year. The problem was that they charged sellers such a high fee that nobody wanted to accept it. Even companies that show an AmEx sign would try to talk you out of using it so I gave up.

Warwick

Jean
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Postby Jean » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:02 am

I was told by my accountant back in April, that it is no longer a requirement to keep ANY receipts.

I think that as a self-employed person I don't need to keep receipts any more but because the tax laws are all over the place and changing on an almost daily basis I keep them anyway. Sticking them in a large envelope is no more hassle than throwing them in the bin.

Kilkis
Posts: 10963
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Postby Kilkis » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:48 am

Jean wrote:...I think that as a self-employed person I don't need to keep receipts any more ...


That could make sense. They changed the way the tax code works this year. Instead of a zero percent tax band they introduced a rebate. Collecting receipts is a requirement to qualify for this rebate. If I remember correctly, self employed people are not entitled to this rebate and so keeping tax receipts would serve no function for them.

Jean wrote:...Sticking them in a large envelope is no more hassle than throwing them in the bin.


Exactly. Every non-tax resident person I know still keeps the receipts "just in case". If, at the end of the year, it is certain they don't need them they tend to give them to any Greek friends who are short.

Personally I go a bit further than the envelope and keep a record. I don't do it because I have to but so that I know what value I have collected. I don't like surprises.

Warwick


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