For the second year in a row, the share of new entrepreneurs in Serbia increased by more than 20% in the first half of the year, and their total number exceeded 300,000 for the first time. This strong growth is due, among other things, to the successfully implemented reform of flat-rate taxation, which in 2020, after several decades, introduced clear criteria for determining taxes and brought more predictable business conditions for the smallest businesses.
Although the crisis did not slow down the positive trend, support measures are still needed, and several initiatives were launched from the panel discussion "Fiscal and financial aspects of business of entrepreneurs", held within the StarTech program marking the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week.
- We proposed to extend the validity of the provision in the Decree on flat-rate taxation, which limits the maximum tax increase to 10% per year, to change the method of taxation of entrepreneurs who operate on the Internet, to consolidate the payment of taxes and contributions for entrepreneurs from four to one account, as well as to adopt the proposed solution for the tax treatment of freelancers as soon as possible - said Dušan Vasiljević, Competitiveness and Investments Director in NALED.
Consolidating tax payments into a single account would save entrepreneurs and the state 260 million dinars, which is lost in the transfer of liabilities. Change of calculation for those who hold online classes or are so-called virtual assistants is necessary, considering that they would have to give more than 60% of their income for taxes if they want to do business legally, which is why the majority of them, 39,000, work illegally. When it comes to freelancers, there are ongoing changes to the law that offer two models of taxation. At NALED's proposal, freelancers with low incomes were able to get health insurance for only 4,200 dinars per quarter.
Of all the proposed initiatives, Assistant Minister of Finance Dragan Demirović explained that by the end of the year, the priority will be to solve the taxation of freelancers and extend the limitation of tax increases for flat-rate taxpayers up to 10%. This limitation is important because from January 1, the monthly obligation could be many times higher for many entrepreneurs.
The coordinator for tax control in the Tax Administration, Dragan Agatunović, announced additional news for entrepreneurs in 2023. "Economic entities will no longer have to report to us all status changes during the year, but it is enough to do so only in the APR, which will provide the Tax Administration with all the necessary data." This will reduce costs, help tax officials and entrepreneurs," said Agatunović.
Official statistics show that in the first six months of this year, 20,247 entrepreneurs were founded (12,829 closed down), so there are now 305,317 entrepreneurs operating in Serbia, along with 135,533 companies. They were mostly interested in opening coffee shops and other catering establishments, providing consulting services, computer programming, opening hair and beauty salons, as well as starting a business in the transport sector.
Support for entrepreneurs can also be non-financial, and the event presented two new digital tools – the Digital Test of Independence, which helps entrepreneurs check whether they pass the test criteria and indicates certain issues with their business, as well as the platform GoStudy – Šschool of digital entrepreneurship with 180 lessons significant for starting and running a business.