The Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEV) on Monday alerted its members that starting next month the tax department will start checking if businesses have made available to customers the option for card payments – made mandatory under a government decree.

In a statement, the organisation recalled that, effective September 18, all existing businesses must comply with the decree.

Businesses that began commercial activities during the last 30 days prior to that cutoff date, have until October 18 to comply. As for businesses that begin commercial activities after September 18, they will have one month to comply after they start operating.

OEV said also that businesses falling under the decree must inform customers about the payment options and put up clearly visible signs at the entrance of the premises and at the cash desk.

Businesses found to be in breach of the decree can be fined up to €2,000.

As of September 18, more than 80 types of retail businesses – including doctors, lawyers, but also kiosks, street food vendors and clock repair shops – must accept plastic money as a payment option.

The relevant decree, issued by the finance ministry, is intended to fight tax evasion.

The small shopkeepers’ association has asked the government to water down the mandate.

The association said businesses not registered with VAT – like kiosks, market traders or travelling salesmen – should be exempt from having to accept plastic money, saying that it just cannot work logistically.