BELGRADE (Serbia), August 24 (SeeNews) – Phantom firms operating in Serbia defrauded the state budget of 15 billion dinars ($231 million/161 million euro) in 2008 tax revenue, local news provider EMportal reported.
Serbia’s new tax registry, due to be launched by the end of this year, will make any attempts at tax evasion impossible, EMportal (www.emportal.rs) reported, quoting the head of Serbia’s Tax Administration, Dragutin Radosavljevic, as saying on Friday.
“No one will be able to do business in Serbia without it being known who stands behind each firm. This will be quite startling for anyone trying to dodge taxes,” Radosavljevic said, adding that all companies and individuals will be able to pay taxes electronically in two years from now.
“The new tax system will completely eliminate all tax fraud and malpractices while the Tax Administration will be a lot more efficient,” he said.
Serbia’s Tax Administration defines phantom firms as illegal or unregistered firms that report false financial results with the aim of reclaiming value added tax (VAT) on goods and services. VAT in Serbia is 18%.
Phantom firms made a 7.9 billion dinar dent in Serbia’s budget in the first seven months of 2009, prompting the Tax Administration to take legal action against 1,131 companies.
Radosavljevic further said that the debt of Serbian companies to the country’s state pension and disability fund is 61.2 billion dinars.
“About 47.8 billion dinars of this amount cannot be paid because the companies in question are either in the process of privatisation, bankruptcy or being shut down,” he also said in the article.
Serbia’s Tax Administration collected 311.5 billion dinars in tax revenue through August 14, somewhat short of the planned 333.7 billion.
“Nominally, this is 0.9% less than in 2008, and 9.8% lower in real terms. These are good results given the economic situation and the performance of other countries in the region,” Radosavljevic said.
(1 euro=93.0808 Serbian dinars)