Greece: Tax administration enhances digitalisation
John Goulias of EY in Greece explains the key elements of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue’s platform for the transmission of fiscal data.
In December 2019, specific provisions were incorporated into the Greek tax legislation, which expanded the use of technology within the tax administration. The changes introduced were: (i) the obligation for Greek entrepreneurs to transmit the data of their businesses’ transactions to the myDATA platform of the Independent Authority for Public Revenue (IAPR); and (ii) the optional use of licensed providers for the issuance of e-documents for wholesales and retail sales.
The requirements came into effect after the issuance of Joint Decision A.1138/2020 of the Deputy Minister of Finance and the IAPR’s governor in June 2020, which determined the scope, timeline and details of the digital data transmission process. The respective technical and business specifications are available on the IAPR’s website (www.aade.gr/mydata).
The pilot transmission of data started on October 1 2020, for transactions completed on this date onwards. As per a press release issued by the Deputy Minister of Finance and the IAPR governor, transmission of data will be mandatory with effect from January 1 2021, onwards. This effectively means that the obligation of entrepreneurs to transmit data will be moved to 2021, instead of 2020, as was originally stipulated by the joint decision.
As a general rule, revenues data and the respective accounting and tax classification, are required to be transmitted in real time, while the deadline for the analytical transmission of each month’s expenses and characterisations is due at the end of the following month. Specific exemptions apply for certain cases of retail sales.
Before the introduction of the rules, the Greek Tax Procedures Code had already provided for the imposition of specific procedural penalties, where entrepreneurs had failed to transmit information to the tax authorities. However, more specific penalties are expected to be introduced, in relation to the non-transmission, late transmission or inaccurate transmission of data to the myDATA platform.
The transmission of document data and characterisations is mainly performed through the connection of the respective company’s accounting software to the myDATA platform. Small entrepreneurs may transmit their data through the submission of a specific form. The accounting and tax classification of the data transmitted to the IAPR is obligatorily performed by an accountant licensed by the Economic Chamber of Greece.
As an alternative to the direct transmission of data to the myDATA platform, entrepreneurs may opt to issue their e-documents for retail sales and wholesales, through licensed providers. The IAPR has granted the relevant provider license to four Greek companies so far, while various procedural issues remain to be settled through the publication of the relevant decision and circulars.
The licensed provider, if decided to be used by the issuer, will safeguard the authenticity of the e-document, digitally transfer it to the recipient and digitally store it, and also transmit its content to the myDATA platform. Where the entrepreneurs decide not to use a licensed provider, the content of their documents will be transmitted through the connection of their enterprise resource planning system (ERP) to the myDATA platform.
Specific tax incentives have been granted to encourage as many entrepreneurs as possible to issue their e-documents through licensed providers. These incentives apply for the period 2020-2022 and refer to the reduction of the statute of limitation, the 100% super tax deduction for the first year’s implementation cost and the shortening of the tax refund (if any) timeline to 45 days. Businesses looking to receive the above tax incentives for 2020 are obliged to duly transmit the entirety of their 2020 revenues data.
In regard to retail sales, the IAPR announced the obligation of Greek entrepreneurs to upgrade their electronic tax register machines, which will be subsequently connected online to the IAPR so that the data of retail sales is transmitted in real time.
Under this regime, enterprises operating in Greece should consider how they can comply with the requirements and how they could benefit from the framework. The first step is understanding the requirements and concluding on the best technical solution for the transmission of data. Irrespective of the technical solution to be selected, its proper configuration is necessary. Entrepreneurs may also assess whether a licensed provider should be used for the issuance of e-documents. The testing of the solution and training of the users are also important steps. Finally, it is necessary to assess how the procedure will affect existing processes and controls.
The IAPR constantly gathers feedback from all stakeholders and is expected to proceed with all necessary actions in regard to the specifications, deadlines, non-compliance penalties and other related issues, to enable the successful implementation of this innovatory project.