Extension of controversial electronic register (EET) law likely

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s (ANO) bid to extend the scope of the electronic cash register system known as the “EET” is a step closer to becoming law. But while one move to delay its implementation was defeated on Friday, other delaying tactics remained in play.

Photo: Ondřej Tomšů
The opposition parties, led by the Pirates, failed to muster enough votes on Friday to postpone extending the EET’s online reporting requirements to artisans and tradesmen, as well as lawyers, accountants, and sole proprietors in the next “wave” of its rollout.

Of the 160 deputies present in the lower house of Parliament on Friday, only 72 voted in favour of Pirate MP Nicholas Ferjenčík’s proposal to postpone its implementation by half a year. The draft amendment is now in its second reading. MPs did not manage to vote on it in their session on Friday.

The opposition Civic Democrats have submitted over 700 amendments – exemptions for each individual profession that would be affected – and were seeking separate votes on each. ANO was pushing for a single comprehensive vote.

Babiš introduced the EET in 2016, back when he was the finance minister, to counter the grey economy and tax fraud.

The system was designed to be introduced in three stages, starting in December 2016, when it applied only to restaurants and accommodation facilities. As of March 2017, it also became mandatory for wholesalers and retailers.

In February – after eight attempts – the amendment to the EET extending regarding the planned third and fourth “waves”, which will affect craftspeople and food producers such as farmers’ markets, passed its first hearing in the lower house of Parliament. If signed into law, these “waves” are unlikely to take effect in 2020.

According to Finance Minister Alena Schillerová (ANO) the EET brought some 12.3 billion crowns into state coffers last year, 4.4 billion crowns more than in 2017. Opponents say the reporting requirements are counterproductive, having contributed to the closure of thousands of small stores selling food and mixed goods, as well as pharmacies, in villages and small towns.