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Belgrade, Serbia, 28/12/2020

New expenses for businesses in 2021

Even though the consequences of COVID-19 pandemics are felt deeper in the Serbian economy, and the new December rules of partially limiting the working hours and movement of people are in place, the beginning of 2021 will certainly bring further displeasure for business owners and managers.

The reason for this is that the next year will bring a number of new expenses and fees. Many local self-governments have introduced increases in property tax for businesses and citizens in the upcoming year, even though during the 2013-2018 period property tax for businesses increased between 120 and 705 percent, depending on the location.

The infamous environmental improvement tax was charged to thousands of entrepreneurs, companies and associations in Belgrade and several other major cities, even though the purpose and usage of this tax are unfamiliar to the business sector that is already paying ecological protection and ecological tax on products that can become special waste. Therefore, business subjects in the future will pay three different taxes for the same purpose, increasing the financial and administrative burden of doing business.

Large unknown is the announcement of the Ministry of Finance on conducting a new form of fiscalisation that includes procurement of new fiscal cash registers and software, for which there is currently very little information. Minister of Finance announced that 3 million RSD from the Republic budget will be given to support businesses in this process, however, it is unclear if that support is intended for the purchase of new cash registers or software. It should also be kept in mind that all fiscal cash registers need to be sent to control and calibration annually, and that fiscal software is purchased separately, increasing the costs for business subjects. In the situation when turnover is suffering due to lockdown measures and limit of working hours, business sector met this introduction of new form of fiscalisation with great displeasure, as the previous solution (GPS tax) brought significant burdens on the businesses (around 6 million EUR annually), and has shown to be inefficient, as inspections didn’t use it during their field control.

On top of everything, one must add that the excise tax on electrical energy introduced in 2015 as one of the measures for „saving the state from bankruptcy“ is still in force, and that in the past 7 years growth of new fiscal and parafiscal expenses was several times higher than the economic growth, which seriously endangers the existence of tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs and the competitiveness of domestic economy on the international markets.