HAVANA, Nov 2. The Government of Cuba made official this Thursday the rule that requires state and non-state companies and businesses to operate using at least one electronic payment channel, a decision that will come into force within a month and grants 60 days for compliance, and responds to the “banking” process, as the authorities have called the fiscal control measures for commercial operations, in a country with runaway inflation and a vast black market.
The rule, which exempts from compliance only entities located in areas without internet access, was published in the Official Gazette number 106 Ordinary and indicates that all entities that have or demand a commercial license must possess at least one of the platforms. national (Transfermóvil and EnZona) or point-of-sale terminals (QR code) for the provision of their services.
The Cuban Ministry of Finance and Prices, which issued the resolution, 245/2023, indicates that it is aimed at “transparent the transfers of income and expenses of the activity carried out by natural persons in various sectors of the economy and society.” “.
In statements to the state-run Cuban News Agency, the Deputy Minister of Internal Trade (MINCIN), Inalvis Smith, assured that the new requirement “is due to the expansion of the banking process of operations in the trading system.”
The measure affects all “economic actors” on the Island that carry out the retail and wholesale sale of merchandise; internal accommodation; gastronomic and food services, as well as commercial establishments.
After the 60-day period established by the authorities to comply with the requirement, entities could be sanctioned under Decree 184 regarding non-compliance with the requirements to operate, which would entail fines or closure of the establishment’s operations, until the requirement is met. provided in the standard, Smith warned.
The resolution further assumes that “artists and intellectuals, social communicators, usufructuaries of state agricultural lands, owners of agricultural lands, landless livestock keepers and other individual producers of food of animal or plant origin,” are “obliged to open and operate a bank account in Cuban pesos in a branch of a Cuban commercial bank, which for all legal and tax control purposes is considered a ‘fiscal bank account’, which is declared before the Tax Administration.”
Through this bank account, professionals will pay taxes, as well as process “payments related to capital repairs; construction maintenance; purchase of means and equipment; services received from other forms of non-state management; as well as payments to entities for the purchase of goods and provision of services, which are carried out through banking instruments,” the text says.
Likewise, it continues, such taxpayers “are obliged to declare their tax bank account to any natural or legal person who wishes to make payments to them by transfer or other payment instrument.” As in the case of companies and businesses, failure to comply with this rule “constitutes a tax violation punishable under current tax legislation.”
Vladimir Regueiro Ale, Minister of Finance and Prices, assured the Cuban News Agency that this group covers more than 710,000 potential taxpayers and added that the regulation has its antecedents in the tax system for “self-employed workers”, a euphemism for what the Government calls small private entrepreneurs.
He added that the decision “is part of the State’s efforts to strengthen socialist legality and advance the banking of the financial flows of natural persons.”
According to Alberto Javier Quiñones Betancourt, vice president of the Central Bank of Cuba, on the Island, there are more than 480,000 “self-employed workers” with bank accounts, and the National Office of Tax Administration (ONAT), together with the banking system, works for increasing such numbers.
For his part, Fernando León Jacomino, vice minister of the Ministry of Culture, said that the implementation of the regulations for this sector requires differentiated attention, by having artists and creators, most of them musicians, in budgeted units, and others who exercise profession under the regime of supply and demand.
Alexis Santos, director of the Economy of the Ministry of Agriculture, described the opening of tax accounts as an effective tool for the supervision of the sworn declarations of agricultural producers, including farmers, and “the elimination of evading behavior”.
The so-called bancarization, announced last August by officials of the Central Bank of Cuba, aims at the gradual elimination of the use of cash in economic operations on the Island and provoked harsh criticism from experts and ordinary Cubans.
When presenting the measure, officials then argued that it pointed to the existence of “a very high level of cash outside the banking system, beyond what the economy needs.”