From: Alice Taylor
Amcham Against Proposed Fiscal Amnesty Law

The Albanian-American Chamber of Commerce has announced its opposition to the proposed fiscal amnesty law put forward by the Socialist party government, calling it a significant risk for money laundering.

The proposed law would allow Albanians and foreign citizens to deposit up to EUR 2 million in a local bank with no questions asked, legal immunity, and a tax of between 5-10% payable. A previous version of the draft was condemned by the EU and IMF last year, while the current version has also received ire from the Commission who says it puts Albania and member states at risk of financial crime.

Despite this, the government is currently conducting consultations on the draft law with business stakeholders.

“Amcham strongly recommends the withdrawal of the draft law on fiscal amnesty. The risks far outweigh the benefits,” said chamber President Enio Jaco on Facebook.

“The draft law does not provide sufficient guarantees that individuals implicated in criminal activity will be excluded from the amnesty. If passed, the legislation would undermine efforts to improve the business and investment climate by rewarding unfair competition,” the chamber’s statement reads.

The government maintains that the country needs to law to legalise money kept in the black by citizens who have earned it through informal employment or tax evasion.  Those who deposit money and pay the tax will have to remain in Albania for five years.

Issues with the law include that there are no comprehensive provisions to prevent those involved in human and sex trafficking, drugs, and other serious crimes, from availing themselves of the scheme. Similarly, family members of politicians such as cousins, in-laws, and aunts and uncles are not excluded, paving the way for potential issues in the future.

Furthermore, Amcham noted that ‘honest’ individuals who pay their taxes and duties pay around 32% in total, whereas someone who has worked dishonestly or evaded tax will be able to pay just 5-10%.

“The implementation of the amnesty will bring unfair competition, favouring individuals with past illegal activities,” notes Amcham.