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Joint Event with the Piraeus' Commerce of Industry

The business and professional community of Piraeus received answers to many questions regarding the new tax provisions for businesses and the overall changes in their operation brought about by the new economic climate, at an information event organized jointly by Eurobank EFG and the city’s Commerce of Industry (EVEP) in cooperation with the Pan-Hellenic Federation of Tax Consultants Professionals (POFEE).

At a time when the operating conditions of enterprises are changing radically, both in relation to the regulatory framework and to the overall economic situation, changes in tax legislation are of particular concern to small and medium enterprises in the country, as demonstrated by the extremely high participation in the event, held on Monday, January 31 at the hall of the EVEP.

Eurobank EFG’s Deputy CEO, Mr Byron Ballis stated that, in the light of the particularly diverse relationships it has developed with entrepreneurs and its commitment to support the business world, the bank has undertaken a campaign to inform small enterprises. SME entrepreneurship is called take the lead in restarting the Greek economy, through the transition to a new development model, free from the state-dependent philosophy of the past and built on openness, fair competition and the creative initiatives of the private sector. Overall, he stressed that, despite the crisis, the banking system maintained positive credit growth rates (in contrast with other countries, such as Ireland, which experienced recession), while liquidity, limited because of closed markets, is channelled primarily to business finance. “Banks and businesses are in the same boat and we have common goals,” he said. Speaking of the broader developments, Mr Ballis stated the need to coordinate the fiscal policies of the Eurozone countries and noted that there has been substantial progress in discussions on a reliable European mechanism to comprehensively address the debt crisis. In this context, he expressed the view that “we will re-enter international markets, soon in fact, perhaps even before the end of the year”.

The EVEP’s president, Mr Georgios Kassimatis, presented a realistic picture of the market and the huge problems experienced by companies as a result of the domestic and international recession. Mr Kassimatis stressed that the financial policy of the banks should be realistic, simple and affordable, the pricing policy for potential clientele should be convincing and acceptable, while the solvency and credibility of clientele should be discretely assessed, to avoid inconsistencies and problems in servicing its obligations.

The keynote speaker at the event was Mr Georgios Christopoulos, spokesman for the POFEE, who, through detailed examples, presented all the issues faced by small businesses under the new Tax Law. He referred inter alia to the changes in the taxation of corporate profits, the changes on expenditure items, VAT, Large Property Tax, company transfers and changes in payments for purchases. A special reference was made to the new role of the Accountant - Tax Consultant for customer support, with increased responsibilities and powers, which are now established by law.

The event ended with a speech by Mr Panos Theodorou, Head of Commercial Development Sector of Eurobank’s Small Business Banking. Mr Theodorou explained the advantages of the Bank’s Professional Account for the operation and the adaptation of SMEs to the new tax provisions, covering the full range of their needs today. In addition, he referred to all the initiatives taken by the Bank, such as the integrated financial programs “Green Growth” and its participation in community or state development projects on favourable terms, contributing to the even more immediate and effective support to customers in the current difficult economic conditions.

The Q&A session that followed was indicative of the audience’s interest and the professionals’ need for reliable information on tax issues. The issues of most concern, according to the questions raised, relate primarily to the new legislation and what professionals and small businesses are called to do, as well as concern about the cost and effectiveness of the new tax law.

The event held in Piraeus in collaboration with the EVEP, is part of a series of similar information meetings organized by Eurobank EFG in cooperation with the POFEE in many cities, with a massive participation of small enterprises and professionals.