The Cuban Government Extends the Obligation To Operate With Bank Accounts to Farmers and Artists

The rule also affects those who have livestock but no land. (Escambray)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 2 November 2023 — Food producers will be obliged to have and declare a tax bank account in Cuba through which they must carry out all operations related to their activity, a measure that also affects artists and intellectuals, communicators, usufructuaries [leasers] of state lands, owners of agricultural land and holders of livestock without land.

Any repair, maintenance, purchase of equipment, facilities and  services received from other private businesses or cooperatives, in addition to tax payments to State entities for the purchase of goods or provision of services, must be channeled through the account, which can be in national currency or freely convertible currency.

The new measure was published this Thursday in the Official Gazette and provides for a period of 180 days from November 2 to open and communicate the account to the authorities; otherwise, non-compliances will be sanctioned according to current tax legislation.

The text notes that, to date, some self-employed and “other forms of non-state management” were already obliged to operate with bank checking accounts. The rule was adopted at the end of 2018, and affected people dedicated to food services in bars, cafes and restaurants, those who rented homes or rooms, accommodation repair and, in Havana, collective transport.

The rest of the workers were exempt, but the efforts of the authorities with banking reform has forced this expansion. “In order to favor the ordering of financial movements between the different actors of the economy and strengthen fiscal control, it is necessary to extend the obligation to open and operate a tax bank account to all taxpayers who are natural persons,” explains the resolution from the Ministry of Finance and Prices.

This Thursday’s Gazette includes another rule, in this case from the Ministry of Internal Commerce, which is in line with what the regime calls “supporting the banking reform process.” The resolution imposes as a requirement for the registration of a business in the Central Commercial Registry that it have “payment facilities for the national gateways or point of sale terminals for the marketing of goods and provision of services to the consumer.”

Registration in this registry is essential to be able to trade on the Island and, from now on, includes this new requirement; the only exemptions are those who are in “zones of silence certified by the Telecommunications Company of Cuba.” One of the criticisms of the requirement to effectively implement electronic commerce is not only the total absence of connectivity of large areas of the Island, but the slowness of the service, its intermittency and the constant interruptions that prevent the completion of operations on many occasions in a satisfactory way, leading to conflicts.

In addition, as planned, the resolution affects those who appeared in the Registry before the regulations. They are required to make electronic payment channels available to customers if they have not already done so. The deadline is 60 days from the publication of the rule, which would reduce the time initially indicated. When the package of measures was announced at the beginning of August, it warned that the adaptation should be completed in six months, leaving the beginning of February as the deadline. However, with the new regulations, the last day would be January 2.

“After this period, the activity they carry out will be suspended,” the text says.

Translated by Regina Anavy

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