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Investment Council discusses the findings of the business survey on tax administration and informality

TIRANA, December 6 – Albania Investment Council (IC) held on Wednesday its eleventh Meeting chaired by the Minister of Finance and Economy, Mr Arben Ahmetaj. In the agenda of the meeting was the presentation and discussion of the IC Survey conducted by the Secretariat with 146 companies, in collaboration with University of Epoka, during July – September 2017. The purpose of the Survey was to highlight the progress of the main business concerns, compared to the findings of the Secretariat during 2015-2016, mainly related to the Tax Inspection and Relations with the Tax Administration, Informality, and VAT Refund. The meeting was attended also by representatives of local and foreign business associations.

In his speech, Minister Ahmetaj appreciated the achievements of the Investment Council in tackling the business concerns as well as acknowledged the continuous efforts made by the tax administration in intensifying the communication with the taxpayers and citizens in the framework of the fight against informality, in further simplifying the procedures and in the context of the deregulation reform.

In the Survey, the companies have stated an increase in the number of inspections, mainly onsite inspections and fiscal visits. It was acknowledged by the business an improvement in the communication and behaviour of tax administration, raised transparency and increased number of services to the taxpayers. However, still, the business perceives that there is a need for investing more in capacity building of the tax inspectors as well as for the whole tax administration to better respond to the business demands.

The VAT refund is progressing well, however, for companies exporting over 70% of sales, it still remains a challenge the meeting deadlines and complying to refund procedures as per legal provisions.

There is a decline in the perception of the business on the degree of informality compared to 2015, meanwhile, the threshold for income tax/VAT, relations with the administration and enforcement of law remain main perceived causes which encourage informality.

Reduction of the administrative red tape, enhancement of the administration’s professionalism but also incentivising the companies which comply and invest in the country are some of the main business requests to promote formalisation of the economy and private investments.

IC Members appreciated the findings of the Survey and expressed willingness to collaborate with the Ministry of Finance and Economy to increase the efficiency of the anti-informality measures. Among others, it was suggested the development of an all-inclusive strategy against informality, awareness campaigns with the public for formalisation as well as the promotion of continuous consultation and responsiveness with the private sector.

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