Restaurant Receipt Fines?!

Feb 29th, 2000, 08:27 AM
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Restaurant Receipt Fines?!

I've heard that you can get stopped outside a restaurant and fined if you forgot your receipt! Does anyone know why this is? Anyone have any experiences to share? I plan to keep all my receipts regardless, just curious...
Feb 29th, 2000, 08:35 AM
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Believe that's the law in Italy, perhaps the rest of the EC. Intent, I guess, is to make sure the business dosn't cheat and not record the sale on the register.

I've never heard of anyone being fined, nor have I ever seen a receipt inspector.

I wouldn't return home with too much paper in my pockets.

OOn the other hand, for purchases you'll be bringing back home, it's good idea to hang on to the receipts as proof of what you paid when you're processed by customs.

Feb 29th, 2000, 10:03 AM
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Follow-up to Ed's remarks about having receipts - - if you are carrying anything new and expensive that was NOT made in the USA (laptop, camera, videocam, for example) - - it could save you a big hassle if you have with you the proof that you bought in the US. Your own government loves (or perhaps used to love - - this may have been an issue more inthe past than today) to make you, its own citizens sweat when you come home with something that looks like you might have bought it "over there".
Feb 29th, 2000, 01:01 PM
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The law in Italy is that you must be given a receipt for EVERYTHING which you buy, including meals. This is enforced by a sinister agency called the "Guardia di Finanza" (Financial Police) who have the power to stop anyone and ask for a receipt. I believe that they are held in the same regard as the IRS is over here.

As to cameras, etc. which you've bought in the US, and for which you've lost the receipt, the easiest thing is to go to the Customs office at your USA departure airport and fill out a form which "declares" your items. Customs then stamps it with their official seal. This is meant as proof when you return that you had the item before you left the USA, and could probably work overseas as well for that purpose.
Feb 29th, 2000, 01:07 PM
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According to VAT regulations in Belgium you can theoretically indeed be fined if you don't have the VAT ticket. That ticket states the charged amount as well as the number of persons and it proves that the restaurant keeper does not sell his meals "black", thus that he pays the obligatory taxes.
If there is a control at the exit of the restaurant and you say that you did not get a ticket, the restaurant keeper as well as you will get fined because you as a customer are obliged to ask for this ticket.
This however is pure theory. I have never heard of anyone being fined for that reason.
Enjoy your meals !
Feb 29th, 2000, 01:21 PM
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Paul, not so sure U.S. Customs still registers items. Two years ago I led my friend on a wild goose chase before her int'l flight from JFK. (I had advised her that she should register her camera.) The Customs Inspectors we spoke to in the terminal's international arrivals area (no old-timers among them) had no idea what we were talking about.
This used to be a common practice (they had a counter in an accessible area of international terminals for the purpose,) but seems to be passe now.

Sorry to extend this semi-off-topic diversion.
Mar 12th, 2006, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 200
There was a thread here that mentions this - I can't find it any more. If you buy something you are obliged to have an official receipt and carry it for at least 100 m from where you made the purchase. It's part of a crackdown on tax avoidance by small business owners.
constant is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 02:36 PM
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Hi S,

The only person who would be fined for not giving you a receipt is the purveyor, not the customer.

Don't worry.

ira is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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Hmmm, Ira. That's not what a Florence local said over on Slowtrav very recently. She said both parties can be fined. Doesn't seem quite fair, but ...
Holly_uncasdewar is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 02:59 PM
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Holly, we were told that too in Pisa by the owner of our hotel. He said at the time there was a big push by the Guardia di Finanza and that the were stopping many people coming out of restaurants to make sure they were given receipts. He said we could be fined if we didn't have one, although they were really looking to catch the restaurants for not giving them. Sure enough that evening as we passed a restaurant (not the one we went to) there were uniformed police stopping patrons coming out, so I assumed that's what it was all about.
Mar 12th, 2006, 03:15 PM
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As N points out, "...they were really looking to catch the restaurants for not giving them".

They are looking for people who are not paying taxes, not tourists who don't have receipts.

ira is offline  
Mar 12th, 2006, 03:22 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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The "you have to have a receipt" has been going on since I have been going to italy in the 1970' it is one way the Italian government can track down business owners that do not pay the taxes on the income they receive.

It hasn't been a very successful project let me tell you.

Anyway, every merchant under Italian law is suuppose to give you a receipt for anything you buy and you are suppose to hold onto to that receipt for at least while you are in the neighborhood (don't remember the length of time or how many meters etc).

No big deal..not to worry about it..make sure you do get a receipt and feel free to toss it later.
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 13th, 2006, 10:29 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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BOTH the buyer and the seller are responsible - VAT is paid by the buyer and the government wants that as well as income tax from the seller. Obviously the Financial Police are instructed not to alienate tourists, but those are the rules and they are increasing enforced in towns and cities. If you have a wheelbarrow full of ceramics, you need a proper receipt.
constant is offline  
May 29th, 2007, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Nov 2006
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On registering your personal items: Customs still registers personal items--I just did it today. Items that are made in the US aren't really a big deal and he didn't even bother to look at my camera equipment, but it made me feel better. If you are traveling with firearms though, it's a must. Here's what the Customs and Border Protection "Know Before You Go" pamplet has to say about registering your items:

"If your laptop computer was made in Japan—for instance—you might have to pay duty on it each time you brought it back into the United States, unless you could prove that you owned it before you left on your trip. Documents that fully describe the item—such as sales receipts, insurance policies, or jeweler's appraisals—
are acceptable forms of proof.
To make things easier, you can register certain items with CBP before you depart—including watches, cameras,
laptop computers, firearms, and CD players—as long as they have serial numbers or other unique, permanent markings. Take the items to the nearest CBP office and request a Certificate of Registration (CBP
Form 4457). It shows that you had the items with you before leaving the United States and all items listed on
it will be allowed duty-free entry. CBP officers must see the item you are registering in order to certify the
certificate of registration. You can also register items with CBP at the international airport from which you’re
departing. Keep the certificate for future trips."
kristi_0610 is offline  
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