The American Chamber of Commerce strongly recommends withdrawing the Fiscal Amnesty bill. The risks far outweigh the benefits!

The American Chamber of Commerce in Albania expresses its concerns about the draft law on fiscal amnesty, during this sensitive moment of Albania’s accession into EU. The draft law does not provide sufficient guarantees that individuals implicated in criminal activities, would be excluded. If passed, the legislation would undermine efforts to improve the business and investment climate, by rewarding unfair competition. We estimate that Albania’s standing in international monitoring programs related to money laundering would be jeopardized and country’s reputation would weaken as a result.

As a conclusion, AmCham in Albania believes that the risks of the new draft law significantly outweigh its benefits and recommends the initiative is withdrawn.

STATEMENT

The American Chamber of Commerce in Albania (AmCham) expresses serious concerns about

the draft law on fiscal amnesty, proposed lby the Ministry of Finance and Economy. While the new bill presents some changes from the previous initiative of 2020, AmCham’s

conclusion is that the new changes are not substantive enough to alter the consequences, previously highlighted by AmCham and other international partners such as IMF and European Commission.

The conclusion of AmCham, based on the technical expertise of three Committees: Legal, Tax and Investments is the following:

  1. The provisions of the draft law do not offer guarantees that individuals with serious criminal activities, such as drug cultivation or distribution, human trafficking, money laundering will not benefit from the legislation.
  • The application of the amnesty would enable unfair competition, favoring various illegal past activities through three different situations:
  1. The avoidance of consequences from the justice system.
  • Investment of funds raised through illegal channels into the formal economy.
  • Payments of a lower tax rate in the process (5% – 10%) than those involved in the legal activities, which currently stands at a combined 32%.

These effects will certainly lower the tax compliance level in Albania in the future.

  • Albania’s standing on international monitoring programs related to money laundering, such as MONEYVAL and FATF action plan would weaken. Given that Albania remains in the grey list of money laundering based on MONEYVAL, the implementation of this amnesty in these moments that Albania is working on the strength of the monitoring structures will bring a storm of informal activity and increase the risk of ML/TF.

Our assessment is that the approval of this draft law will jeopardize Albania’s position in the international area, including Albania’s chances related to EU accession.

Unless the Government of Albania receives explicit guarantees from international partners, we estimated that the new draft-law would hurt the country’s reputation of doing business

with international partners and lower the ability to attract FDI.

As a conclusion, AmCham in Albania believes that the risks of the new draft law significantly outweigh its benefits and recommends that this initiative be withdrawn.

/Argumentum.al