BUSINESS

Premier responds to AmCham: Taxes here are smaller than in the U.S.

American investors are dissatisfied with the Cabinet’s ‘unpredictable’ fiscal policy.

Premier Victor Ponta stated on Friday, in reply to the fact that AmCham representatives consider that the new fiscal measures generate an unprecedented worsening of the fiscal burden, that taxes in Romania are currently smaller than those in the U.S. and in European countries, Mediafax informs. “I ask again: the VAT did not change, we actually lowered it, the flat tax didn’t change. I care a lot and I am greatly interested for the business environment to have a competitive environment in Romania. On the other hand, I am elected by Romanians. And I have to do my duty towards Romanians first and foremost,” Ponta said.
The fiscal measures that the government announced generate an unprecedented situation in the last 20 years when it comes to the fiscal burden that Romanian taxpayers have to bear and at the same time will negatively affect investments and the competitiveness of Romanian products, reads a communiqué issued by the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham). The organization stresses that it brings together 350 American, international and local companies with total investments of over USD 10 bln and 200,000 jobs. At the same time, the investors point out that the lack of coherence and consistency in adopting fiscal measures, as well as the government’s frequent and unpredictable interventions in the economy, provoke market distortions and difficulties in business planning, having very serious consequences for the Romanian business environment, for Romania’s attractiveness as an investment destination and for its economic competitiveness.
Investors in particular point to the significant negative effects that will be generated by the proposals to hike oil product excises, to modify the methodology of calculating excises and to introduce a new tax on the accounting value of special constructions. “Far from representing a sustainable solution for securing state budget revenue, all of this will determine a rise in tax evasion, a drastic fall in the volume of investments, a drop in jobs and cascading economic difficulties.

Measures such as the hiking of the price of fuels or taxes on special constructions will be reflected in the rise of production costs and implicitly of the price of Romanian products, lowering their competitiveness on external markets. Last but not least, these proposals will most likely result in the start of a new infringement procedure against Romania, being out of line with the stipulations of European directives,” the AmCham communiqué shows.
Last but not least, AmCham reiterates the idea concerning the inefficiency of tax hikes and of introducing new fees through the arbitrary hike in fiscality, and asks the government and the Public Finances Ministry “to focus on respecting the commitments taken before the business sector and society in general, by adopting real measures to efficiently combat tax evasion, accelerating the reform of ANAF and raising the taxpayers’ degree of voluntary conformation.”
Excises will grow by 4.77 per cent next year, the average annual inflation rate calculated in September, the government expecting extra budget revenues of RON 3.44 bln from the hiking of gasoline and diesel oil excises and from the banning of bonuses on the sale of tobacco and alcohol. The government will introduce an excise of USD 0.07 on a liter of fuel (gasoline and diesel oil), the money thus collected set to be channeled into a special fund for investments in road infrastructure. At the same time, the government will introduce a property tax for special constructions that have been so far exempted, Premier Victor Ponta announced.
The special construction tax will represent 1.5 per cent of the construction’s value and will be levied on sidewalks, traffic signs, ditches, pillars for mobile phone, radio and TV antennas. Public institutions however will be exempted from paying this tax.

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