DOCTORS, dentists and hoteliers are exempt from having to use cash registers, but the Finance Ministry is proposing to scrap this exception in an effort to curb tax evasion. The proposal has met with protest from some business owners, who point to the increased costs that come with registers. To silence the criticism, the ministry has introduced virtual cash registers, which will be free of charge. Though some professions see this as a positive step, they also point to potential risks.
Virtual cash registers will be a virtual space administered by the Financial Administration (FA). Entrepreneurs issuing fewer than 300 receipts per month will simply download an application onto their computers, mobiles or smartphones. The information for each transaction will then be stored by the FA.
The new system should be in use as of next April. The ministry says it will cut costs for businesses.
“It should be a kind of helping hand to businesspeople, service providers or sellers of goods who will need to have a cash register, but in fact do not make enough financial transactions to buy their own cash registers,” Finance Minister Peter Kažimír said on July 9, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
The ministry proposes that virtual cash registers should be used by hoteliers, businesspeople active in tourism and accommodation services, veterinarians, hospitals, doctors and dentists.
The whole concept allows entrepreneurs to choose whether to use an electronic or a virtual cash register, the Finance Ministry’s spokesperson Alexandra Gogová told The Slovak Spectator.
Some representatives of businesses consider this a positive move, saying it will save money for those who make a small number of transactions and for whom it would be costly to buy an electronic cash register.
“The measure will have a positive but minimal effect,” Róbert Kičina, executive director of the Business Alliance of Slovakia (PAS), told The Slovak Spectator. According to him, virtual cash registers will save money in selected professions and small businesses that will meet the conditions for their use.
According to Rastislav Machunka, the president of the Federation of Employers’ Associations (AZZZ), it will be necessary to wait and see what kind of impact the measure has after it is put into practice.
How will it work?
In order to use virtual cash registers, businesses will first have to register with the tax office, which will subsequently issue a code for the cash register and login information. Only one virtual cash register can be used at each business location.
After connecting to a printer, businesspeople will be able to print a receipt containing the security feature and the unique identification code. The receipts will have to be readable for the following five years, the draft law stipulates.
Businesses will lose the right to use the virtual system if they ask the tax office to halt access or if they lose their login information.
Moreover, if the number of issued receipts exceeds 300, a business will have to stop using virtual cash registers and replace them with electronic cash registers, according to the draft law.
Since the transaction information will be stored by the FA, the ministry claims it will be impossible to delete it and thus not account for it.
Kičina, however, said that nobody can prevent a business from not entering a transaction into the system in the first place.
The Finance Ministry stresses that virtual cash registers should remove the administrative burden on businesses. This means they will not need to close their books every day or keep the evidence about the cash register.
Moreover, they will not have to choose and sign an agreement with a company for servicing the cash register, Gogová said.
Regarding the benefits for the FA, the ministry expects that it will be easier to audit bookkeeping, which will result in uncovering more tax evasion, the spokesperson added.
Though Ladislav Pásztor, head of the Association of Private Doctors, considers virtual cash registers to be a positive step, he told the Pravda daily that there could be problems with the internet connection in parts of Slovakia.
Moreover, the Slovak Medical Chamber (SLK) points out that the average age of doctors is 55.
“Some older doctors do not use current technologies and will probably not know how to use the electronic or virtual cash register, or they will be difficult for them and delay them from providing health care,” the SLK said, as quoted by the Hospodárske Noviny daily.
Also, Marek Harbuľák, of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Slovakia, sees no reason to use cash registers since “accommodation services is not a sector that does not issue receipts”, as reported by Pravda.
The National Union of Employers (RÚZ) agrees with these claims. Payments in small outpatient facilities are irregular and patients often pay small sums, RÚZ’s official statement reads. Moreover, in facilities offering accommodation services the income from the accommodation is often supplementary. The requirement to use cash registers may also negatively affect accommodation services in regions that lack other kinds of accommodation, the organisation warned.
Peter Pašek, the managing director of Accace, considers the selection of sectors that will be able to use virtual cash registers illogical.
“It is more probable for accountants to meet the condition of issuing fewer than 300 receipts per month than in the case of dentists, doctors, hospitals and hotels,” Pašek told The Slovak Spectator.
29. Sep 2014 at 0:00 | Radka Minarechová