According to Joint Decision No. 45231/20.04.2017 of the Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism and the Ministry of Finance (Government Gazette B 1445 / 27.04.2017), all professionals mentioned therein, including lawyers, are obliged to implement the necessary technical equipment in order to accept payments by credit and debit cards by 27.07.2017. Those who fail to do so will be subject to an administrative fine of one thousand five hundred euros (1500.00 €). As indicated in the Gazette, the businesses that should accept cards from 28.07.2017 include accountants, veterinarians, gyms, private schools, hospitals, doctors, electricians, bread shops, liquor stores and bookstores.
The aforementioned regulation is a part of a broader attempt of the Greek State to crack down on tax evasion by businesses that sell services, which, being intangible, are difficult to track or measure. That said, the Ministries hope that obligating these businesses to implement POS systems and giving tax incentives to consumers for using credit or debit cards, such as deduction of the yearly paid amount from their taxable income, will shrink the government’s budget deficit.
The coordinating committee of the Greek Bar Associations objected. Among other reasons, the aforesaid government’s decision not only equalizes lawyers with retail merchants, but will also impose additional costs upon legal services. Those costs will be passed on to their clients. Hence, the Committee reserved the right to oppose the decision before the administrative courts.
Greek businesses have been obliged to inform their customers as to whether they accept cards as means of payment, since 01.02.2017, by placing signs at the entrance of their premises and at checkout counters, according to article 66 of Law No 4446/2016 (Government Gazette A 240 / 22.12 .2016). An administrative fine of one thousand euros is imposed on businesses that don’t comply with the aforesaid obligation.
Our law firm installed POS terminal equipment in early 2016. We accept Visa, American Express and MasterCard cards.