Fiscal consultants: 2019 budget not yet ready; We expect new tax changes in the coming weeks

Aurel Dragan 17/01/2019 | 13:28

The biggest problem in Romania is not the level of taxation but the changes being made overnight, and the unpredictability of the entire system, according to Dan Manolescu, president of the Chamber of Fiscal Consultants. He also said, at the 13th edition of the EY Annual Tax Conference, that every December is a period full of tax changes in preparation for the following year’s budget.

 “The biggest problem for the budget is when it is developed. In order to finalize the budget project for the next year, authorities make changes in the fiscal system, increasing taxes or creating new ones. In the second phase, in the execution of the budget, it is easier for authorities to change the destination of some money in order to remain below the deficit limits. The second phase is more flexible, but the project phase is more difficult. This is why we are expecting some new changes in the coming weeks since we don’t yet have the budget for 2019,” said Manolescu.

He added that this situation has been occurring for the last 10 years – it is not something new.

“2018 began with the fiscal revolution: moving contributions, split VAT, new restrictions to reduce financing costs. It seemed that this year there was going to be a set of changes already introduced. But in the last days of 2018, the government came up with a new and unexpected package of tax measures that surprised and puzzled both taxpayers and even some state authorities. And it seems that things won’t stop here, and other changes will be coming soon. So, we continue to appeal for predictability in tax legislation,” said Alex Milcev, partner, Head of the Tax and Legal Aid Department of EY Romania.

At this edition of the conference, EY specialists approached issues of tax regulations in Romania with impact on tax reporting, direct taxes and indirect taxes, as well as the latest developments in tax procedures at a global level.

Among the themes approached during the 13th edition of the Annual EY Tax Conference were: 2019 trends in taxation and the need for transformation in Romania, Romania’s fiscal strategy and alignment with international trends, changes in tax legislation with the impact on direct and indirect taxes or the 2019 income tax challenges. At the same time, EY specialists analyzed international interest topics such as Brexit and some of its consequences for taxpayers in Romania and the legislative challenges for Romania brought by European VAT Directives.

Significant tax issues for 2019:

  • European directives ATAD and SDS – among the strategic priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

“Today we have described the most recent amendments to Romanian tax legislation, but also what practical problems need to be taken into account by taxpayers at the end of the fiscal year 2018. We also discussed international tax trends, such as the Directives European and ATAD countries, which will most likely be part of the strategic priorities of Romania’s presidency mandate to the EU Council,” says Andra Casu, Indirect Tax associate partner, EY Romania.

  • Romania will have to take action on the split VAT payment mechanism, otherwise the infringement procedure may continue

“2018 did not bring about major changes in VAT legislation. Perhaps the most important was the introduction of a reduced 5 percent rate for restaurant services. 2019 is, however, more challenging for Romania, given that in November 2018 the European Commission sent a formal notice to our country on the VAT split payment mechanism, saying it should no longer be applied, thus marking the first step towards an infringement procedure. Therefore, in 2019, Romania will have to take action in this matter, otherwise the infringement procedure may continue,” says Ioana Iorgulescu, Indirect Tax Associate Partner EY Romania.

Furthermore, in 2019 (by the end of the year), the so-called “quick fixes” – fast-track solutions adopted at the end of 2018 at the European Union level will also have to be implemented in Romania. These relate to intra-community trade in goods and are aimed at reducing VAT fraud.

  • Another challenging year for both employers and employees

“Changes in the fiscal field for the construction industry have raised many questions about how they should be implemented. Will these changes address the issues raised in this area regarding labor shortages and tax evasion? The relaxation of conditions for obtaining work permits for foreign citizens could help to solve, to some extent and in some areas, the problem of the labor shortage. In other areas, such a solution could come in the context of employers’ concern to create flexible and attractive incentives and employee retention policies,” says Stela Andrei, director, Income Tax and Social Contributions EY Romania.

Amendments to the Pension Pillar II will pose challenges for both taxpayers and their option to transfer, under certain conditions, to the first pension pillar and the funds managing these private pensions that will be affected by the new legislative requirements.

As a result of the exchange of information both between the Romanian authorities and between the states, several checks are expected regarding the taxation of salary and personal income, tax residence and employee mobility for both foreigners coming to Romania and for Romanians going abroad.

  • Risk management becomes a priority in the field of transfer pricing

“In the context of the increase in the number of checks carried out by Romanian tax authorities in the field of transfer pricing and given their complexity, risk management in this area is a priority for Romanian taxpayers,” says Gabriela Bancescu, senior manager, Transfer Pricing EY Romania.

Thus, proper pricing and documentation of intra-group transaction prices, as well as the management of tax controls and the settlement of possible pricing disputes are critical issues for any multinational company.

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