Serbia’s VAT law specifies that a foreign entity supplying goods and services in the Republic of Serbia must appoint a tax representative that must then register for VAT purposes. The Ministry of Finance guidance—Comments no. 011-00-1180/2015-04 (23 May 2016)—on the tax representative of a foreign entity for VAT registration purposes indicates that a foreign entity may, but is not required to, register for VAT liability payment purposes, assuming all statutory requirements have been met. The guidance also indicates that the foreign entity supplying goods or services in Serbia will not be subject to sanctions because it has not appointed a tax representative and registered for VAT.
The following is an unofficial English translation of an excerpt from the guidance:
Assuming all the conditions specified by law have been met, a foreign entity has the option (but not the obligation) to register for the liability of VAT payment, based on the following: the objective of introducing the institution of tax representation for the purpose of applying VAT is, above all, to facilitate the registration of foreign entities for the liability of VAT payment; a specific entity (the VAT taxpayer) can acquire the status of a tax representative according to article 10a of the Law exclusively based on the decision issued by the tax authority (and not just based on the authorization issued by the foreign entity), which means that foreign entity cannot become a VAT taxpayer if all the conditions for its registration for the liability of VAT payment have not been met; all the obligations and all the rights specified by the Law in the name and on behalf of the foreign entity are held by the tax representative; for the supply performed by a foreign entity in the Republic of Serbia the tax debtor is the recipient of goods or services if the foreign entity has not designated a tax representative in the sense that it did not grant a power of attorney to any VAT taxpayer with which it authorizes such taxpayer to perform all the tasks required by Law, or that the foreign entity had granted the power of attorney, but that the tax representative had not filed an application for approval of tax representation to the headquarters of the tax authority, or the approval procedure for tax representation is pending, or the application for tax representation has been denied. Besides this, the foreign entity performing the supply of goods and services in the Republic of Serbia shall not be subject to any sanction for not granting a power of attorney which authorizes a specific entity for performing all the tasks required by Law, and therefore for not registering for the liability of VAT payment. In the event that a foreign entity is not registered for the liability of VAT payment, the Law specifies that the counterparty entity has the status of the tax debtor.
Read the text in Serbian:
...kako je cilj uvođenja instituta poreskog punomoćnika za svrhu primene PDV, pre svega, omogućavanje evidentiranja za obavezu plaćanja PDV stranih lica, da konkretno lice (obveznik PDV) može da stekne status poreskog punomoćnika iz člana 10a Zakona isključivo na osnovu rešenja Poreske uprave (a ne samo na osnovu ovlašćenja koje mu je dalo strano lice), što znači da ne može ni da postane obveznik PDV ako svi uslovi za njegovo evidentiranje za obavezu plaćanja PDV nisu ispunjeni, da sve obaveze i sva prava propisana Zakonom u ime i za račun stranog lica ima poreski punomoćnik, kao i da je za promet koji strano lice vrši u Republici poreski dužnik primalac dobara ili usluga ako strano lice nije odredilo poreskog punomoćnika u smislu da nijednom obvezniku PDV nije dalo punomoćje kojim ga ovlašćuje za obavljanje svih poslova iz Zakona, da je dalo punomoćje ali da punomoćnik nije podneo zahtev za odobravanje poreskog punomoćstva Poreskoj upravi – Centrali ili je postupak za odobravanja poreskog punomoćstva u toku, odnosno da je postupak za odlučivanje po zahtevu za odobravanje poreskog punomoćstva okončan donošenjem rešenja kojim se zahtev odbija strano lice ima mogućnost (ne i obavezu) da se, uz ispunjenje svih propisanih uslova, evidentira za obavezu plaćanja PDV. Pored toga ukazujemo, da strano lice koje vrši promet dobara ili usluga u Republici ne snosi sankcije za nedavanje punomoćja kojim se konkretno lice ovlašćuje za obavljanje svih poslova iz Zakona, a samim tim ni za evidentiranje za obavezu plaćanja PDV, pri čemu je, u slučaju neevidentiranja stranog lica za obavezu plaćanja PDV, Zakonom uređeno da drugo lice ima svojstvo poreskog dužnika.
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