Sunday, 16 December 2018 | News today: 2

Public Revenue Office, Macedonian Chambers of Commerce to tackle shadow economy

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Losses to the national budget incurred by illegal businesses are tremendous, said Daniela Arsovska, president of the Macedonian Chambers of Commerce, speaking at a press conference held Wednesday to announce the newly signed Memorandum for cooperation with the Public Revenue Office (PRO), represented by its director Sanja Lukarevska.

The signing of the Memorandum signals the beginning of cooperation between the Macedonian Chambers of Commerce and the PRO, which will undertake joint activities to tackle the gray economy and unfair competition.

Arsovska said these problems were evident in the areas of construction and some branches of industry, such as IT.

“There is no other mechanism to tackle these [tax evasions] without coordinated efforts of the economic sector, the PRO, and the citizens because these businesses work with cash, Arsovska said. “Our goal is not to punish them, but to put them into the system and on the market, where they can be fair competitors.”

The PRO, as its director Lukarevska said, is developing a national strategy for fiscalization as well as other projects, including a draft law for violations that would soften tax penalties for companies.

“Changes need to be made to the criteria in Article 39, which determines the amount of the fines levied against a company,” Lukarevska said, noting that certain fines have been disproportionately large or small.

Lukarevska said that PRO inspectors keep coming across the same challenges in the field, which indicates the necessity of raising public awareness of the tax evasion problem.

Much like last year, she added, all major summer events would be audited this year, too, to prevent the non-issuance of fiscal receipts.

According to an EU report, the underground economy makes up for 20 to 40 percent of the total production in Macedonia, which presents a serious problem for registered companies and deters investors.

The average size of the shadow economy in Europe ranges between 12 and 15 percent.