The Czech Republic’s new electronic cash registers system, designed to provide the state with immediate information about cash transactions at venues, has entered a month long trial-period ahead of the official launch in December. Pubs, restaurants, and hotels, to officially begin using the system first, have 30 days to get used to it.
Establishments have 30 days to test-run the country’s new electronic cash register system which is the brainchild of the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, aimed at significantly scaling back tax evasion and consequently boosting revenues. The long-planned system, electronically connects registers with an online tax authority and will be required for a majority of retailers, eventually. The first phase affects drinks and food and accommodation services. Ahead of the trial period and start in December, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš expressed confidence that most entrepreneurs had, by now, been well-informed about the changes ahead.
“By now I think that everyone is aware that the system launches in December. We made a lot of effort to get the word out to give [establishments] time to prepare in advance.”
But Czech TV reported on Monday, in fact only around half of the establishments to be affected had picked up relevant information ahead of time and even fewer, only 20 percent, had already acquired the electronic device recording and relaying retail information. Some establishment owners said they were still finding out details about different cash register systems being developed; others said that they were busy trying to find out what would happen when it came to unexpected glitches. Karel Havlíček, the head of The Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts, explains:
“They are trying to find out what happens when there is a power outage, when the internet is down, or when their machine breaks.”
Opposition party TOP 09, headed by former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek, who has often clashed with the man currently holding the job, tried to put brakes on the system, pushing for a significant delay before electronic cash registers were officially launched. The party made a last-ditch effort in September to slow down the process by two years, which failed.
Nor does the current finance minister see any reason to delay: he is hoping that additional tax revenues collected thanks to the new electronic cash register system could amount to as much as 18 billion crowns (the equivalent of around 666 million euros). After the first phase in December, retail and wholesale sellers will follow in March of next year. The third and fourth phases affecting business in fields such as transport, agriculture and craft production, will launch in 2018.
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