More than 2,000 fees and charges in the online registry of non-tax duties

The online registry of non-tax duties has included more than 2,000 non-tax fees and charges for the use of public goods, on the national, local and provincial levels, and it is the most comprehensive record of liabilities that citizens and businesses have towards the state, excluding taxes. The registry was officially presented today at the final conference of the "Non-Tax Revenue Reform Project", and was created by Partner Solutions, KPMG, NALED and the Mihajlo Pupin Institute, with the support of USAID.

Fees, charges and other duties are prescribed through more than 500 laws and bylaws. The introduction of the registry would be of great practical benefit because citizens and businesses would have a clear insight into what they pay, to which institution and for what purpose, the amount of duties, payment account numbers and other useful information, which are difficult to obtain today. Bodies and institutions that prescribe a non-tax duty would be in charge of the initial entry and subsequent changes of any element of the duty, which would ensure that the registry is fully up-to-date, while the Ministry of Finance would have a control function.

- I believe that we have created a good basis for further work and the result should be a new legal framework in this area. That means a great responsibility of the Ministry of Finance to make the registry a functional and good tool for citizens, businesses and the ministry - said the State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Slavica Savicic.

It was pointed out at the meeting that the reform of non-tax revenues and the establishment of the registry as a public record could be realized in phases by first including all fees in the registry, and then other duties. The registry would function in line with the principle that no non-tax duty, prescribed by law or by-law, can be collected if it is not entered in the register.

Milica Bisić, Corporate Affairs Director at KPMG, pointed out that the lack of transparency of non-tax duties is a key problem that needs to be solved, as well as the issue of parafiscal levies. These are duties where different amounts are charged or a double fee is paid for the same service, procedure or action, and it is often the case that a tax (parafiscal) is actually paid under the name of fee or charge. Reclassifying, merging related charges or abolishing parafiscals is an important step towards establishing a transparent system.

- Apart from the fact that it is difficult to count them and it is not certain what should be paid and to whom, the problem with non-tax levies is that it is unknown how much they cost the citizens and businesses. During the project, we listed as many as 1,200 duties at the national level, for which about 160 billion dinars were collected in one year. Although fees are the most numerous and make up two thirds of the total number of levies at the national level, most of the money was set aside for duties that are taxes by nature, as much as 62 billion, as well as charges - 56.5 billion - while fees had the least amount - Bisic said.

Fees are even less significant for cities and municipalities because they bring only 0.2% of local budget revenues on average, and they represent a great administrative burden for citizens and businesses, as well as for local governments. Therefore, another important achievement of the project is the development of a model which could be used by all local governments to harmonize the names of the fees they charge and group them into appropriate areas. In addition to making it easier to manage billing, cities and municipalities would make life easier for businesses, especially those operating in multiple municipalities.

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