However extremely unlikely it might have seemed at first, the finance minister, Mr Andrej Babiš has admitted that the implementation date of the Electronic Records of Sales system may be postponed. The discussion about this, for many rather controversial practice was started by the Czech Chamber of Commerce (CCC), whose officials have, upon evaluation of their survey, concluded that the original date of 1 Dec, 2016, is highly inconvenient. One of the main underlying reasons, which they give in their statement, is burdening businesses during the Advent period, which, as is well known, belongs to busiest ones even without possible technical complications connected with implementation of the new systems, which business people are afraid of (and, let’s admit it, when looking at functioning of other, similar novelties, quite rightly so). Reacting to the CCC’s demand for postponement of the implementation term by a month, Mr Babiš said: “We are discussing it at the Ministry (of Finance), and we need to analyse the advantages and disadvantages”. Furthermore, he added that the Ministry clerks ought to “be clear about it” (this bold statement only applies to putting-off the ERS implementation deadline; not so to the general political concept of the Ministry).
It has also been suggested that the original term would be met, and the Financial Administration officials would “behave in a helpful way pretending it has not happened yet”. The advantage of this scheme would be sticking to the original time plan of introduction of ERS for other businesses, too. (1 December concerns restaurants and hotels, March, 2017, aims at other wholesale and retail businesses, free-lance professions a year later and selected crafts and trades). On the other hand, the disadvantage is, according to the critics of the whole system, sticking to the plan of setting up of a “hot spot” in August, allocation of authorisation codes to the businesses in September and, mainly, starting the dry run of the project in November. As the Minister suggested, to a surprise of many, that the Ministry clerks are discussing exclusion of businesses with turnover lower than CZK 1m from the system; it means that the ERS would only apply for VAT payers. “It is still alive; we are still in two minds about it,” Mr Babiš said. There is not much of a need to stress out that, bearing in mind the original planning of the scheme we have just outlined, it is just about the time to make the decision.
Frequently, the Minister’s declarations are fiercely criticised by both general public and, mainly, the opposition politicians led by ODS and TOP 09 who claim that “the Minister’s considerations of the ERS postponement are a proof of the Ministry of Finance’s inability to prepare the project as scheduled”, said Mr Fiala, the ODS leader. In his “just” fight against the ERS he also adds that the whole scheme is “useless, dangerous and expensive for hundreds of thousands of businesses”.
For the sake of completeness we ought to sum up that the government believes that the implementation of ERS will help to prevent takings cuts, eliminate competitive disadvantages and improve the market environment. The opposition, however, supported fervently and loudly by many entrepreneurs counter that many small business will be exterminated as they will not be able to bear the costs connected with the ERS.