From 1 January 2020, all businesses will be required to purchase a new point of sale (POS) system, having already paid at least a €350 box and an additional €60 annual maintenance fee for the previous system.
The new programme will make it possible to report in real time on every transaction that a business makes. The Tax Administration Department will have up to date information on every invoice paid in cash or via card through an internet connection and will be able to access up to date transactional information at any time.
This means that the authorities will have instant information on just how much tax is owed to them by every business 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The new software will be mandatory for all businesses in the country and will start at the beginning of next year. Sources within the Ministry of Finance confirmed that the initiative will go ahead and that all businesses will be obliged to comply.
Then in 2021, the second phase of the initiative will be implemented which will monitor real-time transactions between businesses.
There are currently some 160,000 registered businesses in Albania and under the new legislation, they must all provide an electronic signature to the National Information Society Agency before they can access the new software. The provision of an electronic signature will cost businesses €35 each year, and it is expected to stop the use of handwritten bills and receipts.
The annual software cost will be €60–€80, while the new system as a whole is expected to cost businesses an additional €100 per year in total.
The Ministry claims that most existing fiscal cash registers will support the new programme and if they do not, businesses will be able to install an app on their smartphones and then link it to a fiscal printer.
Those that have purchased registers that are not compatible with the new software will not receive any subsidies or refunds and will have to write the €350 they paid off as a loss. The government does not intend to assist these retailers in any way.
An International Monetary Fund said the shadow market accounted for about a third of economic activity between 1991 and 2015.