Comparative review of VAT regulation in the EU and Serbia with the analysis of the administrative obstacle in the implementation of legislation

EU accession implies that the country fully harmonizes its legislative framework with EU legislation - the so-called Acquis communautaire. The Acquis is a set of laws and regulations, directives, international treaties, standards, court rulings, etc., which, depending on the area of social life they regulate, are divided into 35 chapters.

Chapter 16, which refers to taxes, or taxation, is not open for negotiations, considering that, according to the European Commission, the Republic of Serbia has not fulfilled the conditions related to equalizing the excise burden on strong alcoholic beverages carried by domestic producers and importers.  On the other hand, until the point in time when this chapter is closed, it is expected that the Republic of Serbia will have harmonized all its regulations, primarily in the field of indirect taxation, with EU directives and rules. 

In terms of tax policy, countries have full fiscal sovereignty, so they can introduce taxes by their own laws. In other words, member states are responsible for enacting and amending tax laws that set tax rates, or their increase or decrease. A higher degree of harmonization of regulations is required by the directives related to consumption taxes, while the degree of harmonization of direct taxes (taxes on labor and capital) is significantly lower. Thus, certain rules are applied to corporate income tax in order to prevent discrimination and eliminate double taxation. As regards personal income tax and property tax, member states retain almost complete sovereignty, with the restriction that their tax rules must not put citizens and legal entities from other member states in an unequal position. The EC, in general, promotes cooperation between member states in combating tax evasion, eliminating discrimination and reducing the administrative burden on businesses and citizens. In that sense, it is important to note that the implementation of tax policy must aim at respecting the principle of neutrality on the one hand and being the simplest possible, primarily, for businesses.

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