Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis dropped a small bombshell on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, he said that a small tax may be imposed on transactions from ATMs. While Greeks tried to recover from the shock, private MEGA TV reported that the small tax may be 1‰ to 2 ‰ , that is per one thousand. On the other hand, other media reported also that the small tax may be imposed also on transactions at the bank counters too. It is unclear with the tax will be imposed on cash withdrawals only.
According to Varoufakis the small tax on ATMs transactions is thought as one of the measures aiming to fill fiscal gaps and limit the usage of cash.
The concept doesn’t make much sense to me, as long as not all Greeks have personal computers and internet access for their online banking – to start with.
As demonstrated in Varoufakis’ Value Added Tax concept, the Finance Minister is totally convinced that he will tackle tax evasion if people use less cash money and more plastic money. Lenders’ rejected his proposal for 3% V.A.T. discount for non-cash transactions apparently for reasons of extreme creative ambiguity. OK, lenders rejected the plan for what they want is exactly the opposite: V.A.T. hikes. People and retailers rejected the concept for being much too complicated and the tourism industry for “damaging tourism.”
He ruled out any plans to impose taxes on the capital of bank deposits.
However so far Yanis Varoufakis hasn’t answer the question: why should people do that? Especially when the economic crisis, the high unemployment, the cuts in wages and pensions, the recession, the lack of liquidity and other Troika-imposed Austerity-maladies have pushed more and more Greeks into transaction off-taxes in order to have discounts in purchasing receipt-free goods and services.
doctor’s house-visit: no receipt €80, with receipt +V.A.T. €120.
electrician 30 min work at home: no receipt €30, with receipt +V.A.T. €45.
Nevertheless, at the end of his meeting with reporters Varoufakis opened a surprise flower bouquet: He said that Greece will indeed pay its tranche to the International Monetary Fund on June 5th, because there will be an agreement with the creditors by then. I think he said that yesterday during an interview with CNN.
UPDATE: Two hours later the Greek Finance Ministry issued a statement saying that the tax on ATMs and other bank transactions was a proposal posed by the Brussels Group (the Troika-Institutions representatives) and that the Greek negotiations teams rejected it. “This proposal on tax on ATMs and other bank transactions is off the table,” the ministry statement concluded.
PS Athens, we got a communication problem!