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ČSSD not to support Babis’s EET changes in parliament

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Prague, Nov 28 (CTK) – The Czech Social Democrats (CSSD) do not suppose that they would support the changes to the EET, proposed by Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), in the Chamber of Deputies voting, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, CSSD head, said after a government meeting on Monday.

He said the CSSD continues to support the sales registration.

“On the other hand, we refuse any weakening of the EET. We want order to be introduced in the collection of taxes and the business environment to be improved,” Sobotka said.

“We considered even the spreading out of the launch of the sales registration into four stages as a compromise. The CSSD does not want any exceptions and inequalities. We do not trust the proposal,” Sobotka said.

Babis claims that the EET project is not threatened by his latest proposals and that everything will continue as scheduled.
The pilot stage of the EET is to apply to restaurants and hotels as from December 1 already. Other branches will gradually join it next year.

Babis proposes now that tradespeople who pay a lump-sum tax and whose annual business revenues do not exceed 250,000 crowns to be exempted from the system.

Another change concerns e-shops. Sales paid by a card online would be exempted from the registration as well.
“The CSSD considers it a mistake if further and further possibilities of how to avoid the EET are opened because this denies the original meaning of the law – the improving of the business environment,” Sobotka said.
In addition, exceptions raise the risk of corruption, he added.

Sobotka indicated that the whole system which the ministry was preparing for three years could fall apart.
He told journalists that he is afraid of possible cooperation between ANO and the rightist opposition in weakening the EET.
“I ask what will happen after the next general election (autumn 2017), after which further two stages of implementation of the EET are to start,” Sobotka said.

“We are afraid that ANO, which claimed for a long time that it wants to fight the grey economy, is now starting to change its policy and flirt with the [rightist opposition] Civic Democrats (ODS) and TOP 09,” Sobotka said.

Babis ruled out having talked with TOP 09 about anything in connection with his latest proposed changes to the EE.
Both the ODS and TOP 09 are opposed to the EET.

“It is almost incomprehensible that after the relatively long consultations that the Finance Ministry held with representatives of the entities concerned, particularly the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts, and with other associations, it did not know the cited ‘technical problems and higher costs’ of such a big segment which e-shops represent already during the process of assessing the impacts of regulation and that it even says these data are not of any principal importance for the tax administration,´” the CSSD wrote in a press release.

The CSSD wrote that it is not possible to verify whether the exemption of card payments in e-shops from the EET is or is not at variance with the goal of the law and whether this may or may not lead to further tax evasion.
Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek (CSSD) said the lump-sum tax alone is a problem.

“I expect the Finance Ministry to make an analysis for how many entities this will be relevant in the future. At present, it is used by 50 entities and we do not know, whether this will be 500 or 5000, which would affect the effectiveness of the system,” he said.

The proposed changes are also rejected by the Association of Hotels and Restaurants (AHR).

“We resolutely reject all proposed exceptions from the EET because they would create further inequalities on the Czech market instead of the promised improvement,” Czech Traditional Retail Association head Zdenek Juracka said.

“The exceptions go against all honest businesspeople. If someone will not want to pay taxes, they will do everything to prove that they will not reach the set cap of 250,000 crowns,” AHR president Vaclav Starek said.

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