EU’s €2.2 million project to help modernise Albania’s Tax Administration leaves behind better laws, practices, capacities and a Code of Ethics (25/05/2012)
Tirana, 24 May 2012
A €2.2 million project funded by the EU has brought EU know-how from the Swedish Tax Agency and the French Public Finances General Directorate to assist Albania to complete its tax legislation and improve its working practices in line with those in EU Member States. The project has also introduced better use of information technology, to improve the efficiency and transparency of the tax administration for the benefit of businesses and the general public.
The EU has long assisted Albania in improving its fiscal system. This twinning project between the Albanian authorities, the Swedish Tax Agency and the French Public Finances General Directorate has brought experts from EU Member States to Albania to complete Albania’s fiscal legislation in this area in line with the EU one; to adopt Internal Audit procedures, aligned with EU standards; to support the Tax Investigation Directorate; to establish a well-functioning IT Department and to improve the connectivity with all regional branches through a secure and reliable network.
The main results of the twinning include: 1) a completely redrafted VAT law, aligned with EU standards, 2) a new Excise law that will enter into force in July 2012 with the Albanian Customs Administration as the competent authority, 3) a law on filing the individual tax return, accompanied by the finalised form and content of the personal income tax return, 4) a manual on harmful Albanian tax measures aligned with the Code of Conduct for Business Taxation, 5) new Internal Audit procedures aligned with EU standards, together with a manual on Internal Audit, 6) a new human resources stra¬tegy and an Ethics Code for the fiscal administra¬tion employees, 7) an empowered Tax Investigation Directorate, with clarified competences and enhanced knowledge and use of efficient techniques for investigation, 8) clear routines between the Tax Investigation Directorate and the General Prosecutors Office, and 9) a strengthened IT department to support the development of the General Tax Directorate.
During the closing ceremony, the Head of the EU Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Ettore Sequi, underlined that “the future efficiency and accountability of Albania’s fiscal system depends on the commitment of Albania’s authorities to the principles of efficiency and accountability, on their commitment to work together for such a system. More transparent and efficient procedures will benefit businesses and citizens who correctly pay their taxes with a legitimate expectation to receive public services in return”. Ambassador Sequi added that the modernisation of Albania’s fiscal system is also important in the fight against corruption, to level the playing field for businesses and to ensure fair competition.
At the end of this 27-month twinning and €2.2 million from the pockets of the European taxpayer, the General Tax Directorate and the Government of Albania are expected to ensure the sustainability of the assistance given by the French and Swedish counterparts by fostering a professional and merit-based public administration. Over the past 5 years, 71.5 million euros from the pockets of the European taxpayer have been dedicated to institution-building in Albania.
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