Hundreds of tourism businesses fined for tax evasion

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 12, 2018 13:16

Hundreds of tourism businesses fined for tax evasion

TIRANA, July 12 – Albanian tax inspectors have identified hundreds of businesses operating informally in coastal areas, including unlicensed hotels or bars or restaurants not issuing tax receipts.

Authorities say they fined about 700 businesses during the past couple of weeks, half of the total number of inspected operators as part of a nationwide campaign to inspect some 16,000 businesses operating in the travel and tourism industry.

Authorities imposed a total of about 30 million lek (€240,000) in fines in inspections carried out from June 22 to July 8 for violations such as failure to issue tax receipts, undocumented goods and informal workers, the tax administration said in a statement.

In inspections carried out along the southern Albanian Riviera, inspectors say they also identified several unlicensed hotels which had their activity suspended until they register with authorities.

Already in its peak season, tourism is booming business in Albania in summer when thousands of companies reactivate their business, but informality in the sector is considered one of the highest, second only compared to agriculture sector which employs about half of the country’s population but produces only a fifth of the GDP.

Hotel owners complain they face unfair competition from smaller accommodation units operating informally or households who informally rent out their apartments at much cheaper rates.

Tourist accommodation units have been facing a reduced 6% valued added tax for the past year, down from a previous standards 20 percent VAT, but the lower rate only applies to accommodation fees and excludes food, drinks or entertainment.

In a bid to promote elite tourism, the Albanian government is offering tax incentives for four and five-star hotels with an investment value between €8 million to €15 million.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times July 12, 2018 13:16