The protest letter dealing with the retroactive payment of taxes and a regulation of the freelancers’ status, was handed over to the Ministry of Finance. The employees’ association is rather new – it was established only last month, after the Tax Department had announced that all those who had been paid by foreign clients for their work via Internet, would have to pay taxes and contributions to social funds for last five years! However, the freelancers claim that the Law on citizens’ income of 2001, which prescribes the taxation of all income coming from abroad, was completely unknown to the majority of them. Many say they were never informed about how it worked, while those who knew of its existence claim they had never been instructed how to duly effect payments. The average amount to be paid by the majority of freelencers is around 10,000 euros, which is a considerable sum, according to Serbian criteria.
The government decision on demanding the payment of taxes on all income coming from abroad was meant for the whole body of tax-payers, but it affects mostly those working in the IT sector. That is why they organized themselves, elected a negotiation team and started gathering votes for a petition named “Do not destroy the IT sector!” It says:
“Our sector kept on growing even during the COVID-19 pandemic and is one with best perspectives. It offers great possibilities to Serbian economy and could speed up its recovery. Unfortunately, the government has been short-sighted and insists on out-of-date legislation which could cost some of us even 80% of our income and make us work informally, abandon Serbia or try to register our companies in one of the tax havens. Contrary to other countries’ practices, where governments ease tax burden in the sector and even subsidize its businesses – our politicians put unnecessary obstacles in our way, try to rob us and send us to the exile – at the same time when they subsidize companies employing cheap labour force. Thus, in the era of digital revolution they offer people manual and unqualified jobs.
Let the free and independent people add new value and help the recovery of the country, making it a place where the citizens will not be a burden, but an engine moving the whole society ahead.”


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