The eighth edition of the annual event Romanian Tax, Law & Lobby, organized by Business Review, gathered over 150 professionals who participated in six conference and workshop sessions led by eminent specialists in the tax, legislation, lobby and advocacy fields.
The tax authorities in Romania should increase the efficiency of tax collection, and based on the current legal framework, the Ministry of Finance should be able to collect more taxes then it does, said Peter de Ruiter, partner and leader of the tax and legal services department at PwC Romania, speaking at the eighth annual Romanian Tax, Law and Lobby event, organized by BR last week. In his opinion, it has to do with the quality of the tax inspectors and reducing the complexity of tax law. He added that the government should implement fiscal measures to reboot economic growth, such as making the interest paid by individuals for housing loans tax deductible. “The impact of the loss of tax revenue on the state budget would be insignificant, but for the consumer such an incentive could make the difference between buying a house or not. For the construction sector – in fact for the whole economy – this would be a breath of fresh air and help bring about the resumption of growth,” said de Ruiter.
Gabriel Biris, managing partner at Biris Goran, added his voice to the call. “We, as businesses, don’t have great expectations from the government, which is preoccupied with marginal measures such as the forfeit tax. I recommend they instead analyze why so little tax is collected and why fiscal evasion is so widespread,” said Biris. He called for a debate on the budget, as according to the ANAF just 70 percent of due taxes are collected. Robin Barnett, British ambassador to Romania, said that in the UK, US and other Western states, “We wouldn’t expect radical measures from the government after just eight weeks. We need to give them time to implement the new economic and fiscal policy.”
The session also tackled employment. Anca Grigorescu, partner at bpv Grigorescu, presented a comprehensive analysis of the labor market and highlighted the problems companies will face with reorganization in 2010. “We are living in times characterized by massive restructuring carried out by employers, abuses by employees and excessive measures imposed by governors. The test is to strike, more than ever, a balance between the three social partners on the labor market,” said Grigorescu. The other panellists were Blair La Barge, chief of economic mission at the US Embassy; Sorin Mandrutescu, Romanian country leader at Oracle Romania and president of AmCham; and Brian Davies, chairman of the British Romanian Chamber of Commerce.
The second session homed in on the local lobby market. The panellists were Gilda Lazar, corporate affairs director at JTI; Razvan Nicolescu, head of corporate public affairs at Petrom; Cristian Lutan, advocacy practice leader at Candole Partners; Cristian Busoi, deputy in the European Parliament; Oana Nastase, communication & corporate affairs director at Rompetrol; and Laura Florea, managing partner at Point Public Affairs. “In Romania people take a reactive approach to lobbying and companies are not proactive,” said Nastase.
The third session saw fiscal issues and solutions for tax system debated by specialists such as Gabriel Sincu, partner, head of tax & compliance services at Mazars; Diana Coroaba, director, indirect taxes and contributions department of PricewaterhouseCoopers Romania; Mihaela Danalache, partner at Ensight Management Consulting; Alexander Milcev, tax partner at Ernst&Young; Adrian Luca, transfer pricing specialist at Transfer Pricing Services; Florin Gherghel, head of the tax department at Noerr Finance&Tax; Angela Rosca, managing partner at TaxHouse; and Andrei Cristea, project manager and TV presenter. Sincu said he thought VAT might increase this year, but advised against the measure, warning that “It would demonstrate the state’s incapacity to collect money from direct contributions.”
Romanian Tax Law and Lobby also featured three workshops organized by PricewaterhouseCoopers (Fiscality Goes Online), TaxHouse (Key Aspects regarding Direct Taxation applicable since January 1, that Stem from the Recent Changes in the Fiscal Code and Accountancy Legislation) and Transfer Pricing Services (How can a Company Manage a Transfer Pricing Audit. A Practical Approach).