Jasper Jacobs

Auditors’ Court says “registered till system” is too complex and difficult to enforce

An investigation carried out by the Auditors’ Court into the so-called “registered till system” that was introduced to combat unregistered work and fiscal fraud in the hospitality industry has found that the system is too complex and difficult to enforce. The Auditors’ Court calls for the system to be simplified.

The system was introduced on 1 July 2016 after years of preparation and consultation. The registered till system came about as part of measures to tackle unregistered work and fiscal fraud both of which had long been issues in the industry.   

Under the system all bars and restaurants that have an annual turnover of more than 25,000 euro/annum from restaurant and/or catering services are obliged by law to give their customers a VAT receipt for the food and drink they purchase.          

Although the Auditors’ Court found that the rules were detailed and had been explained at length they are at the same time complex and difficult to enforce.  

For example, there issues of interpretation arise when it comes to checking whether a business is above the 25,000 euro/annum threshold. This is particularly the case with businesses that serve food to be consumed both on the premises or to take away.

Both the turnover thresh hold and the obligation to give customers a VAT receipt necessitate the carrying out of onsite checks. The exceptions granted to some businesses such as hotels also leave to door open to abuse of the system.

The Auditors’ Court also found issues with the level of finds given to those found to have flouted the rules. In at least 10% of cases the level of fine issued was below the statutory minimum.  

Another issue is that there is no guarantees that some transactions are not registered in the till. This is perfectly possible if a customer that pays cash doesn’t ask for a receipt.

The Auditors’ Court believes that an awareness campaign aimed at consumers could go some way to addressing the issues listed above. It also believes that it should be made easier to report any suspected wrong-doing. Furthermore the Auditors’ Court believes that the Taxation Service should devise a reliable method of working the impact of the system on combating fiscal fraud.