On the 1st of January of 2021, Montenegro will fully embrace its new fiscal system. Because the system is electronic, the Ministry of Finance and the Tax Authority believe it will speed up the process of digitalization. However, it is yet to be seen whether the system can be fully implemented so fast, and, even more, whether all the taxpayer groups will be prepared on 1st January sharp.
The new fiscal system was supposed to start working in January of 2020 but the tender procedure for the procurement of the system was not finished in time.
Some software developers who are working on the project believe that the deadlines for creating the apps and testing the solution are what might cause an issue, as they are supposed to be fully operational by January the 1st. The Chamber of Commerce of Montenegro also believes the starting of the system should be moved to the 1st of April for the realtors, and to October 1st when it comes to wholesale.
The CEO of the company “Codingo,” Ivan Radunović, confirmed for the local newspaper that nobody thought about the people in charge of connecting all of their applications to the new system.
He criticized that the documentation looks more like a scientific study than functioning API documentation. He said that they have only two months to test and roll out all the programs into production, while most of the functions which allow for normal testing aren’t even available yet. He claims that the developers in charge are in a very difficult position as these things should become available on 2nd November, and they should be given 5 to 6 months from this date to test and connect the new solution.
The new fiscal model is supposed to have all the taxpayers constantly connected to the Tax Authority server, where all the receipts will be sent to the Tax Authority in real-time, 24/7.
The Current Fiscal Devices Can Be Updated
Currently, there are over 30, 000 fiscal device and printing units in Montenegro. The Tax Authority and the Ministry of Finance confirmed that they won’t be useless in the new system. They said that at least 15,000 of those can be adjusted according to the new fiscal model.
The country confirmed that in case some devices cannot be replaced, and investment will be required, then those realtors will be subsidized accordingly – the estimates are that it shouldn’t cost more than EUR 250.
So far, Montenegro had five fiscal device manufacturers, but from now on, anyone can create their own electronic fiscal device, as long as they go by the pre-approved specifications.
As for how the transition from the old system to the new should look like, the authorities offered an example. If a taxpayer has, for example, 300 fiscal devices, by the 25th December, they should set apart at least 100 which will have the new software installed. The authorities assure that this can be done relatively fast and easy.
The Tax Authority and the Ministry of Finance also confirmed that there will be a chain of responsibilities when it comes to securing the new system and making sure it functions without an error.
Everyone will have their own responsibility; the Internet provided needs to make sure the connection is stable at all times, the taxpayers need to make sure they’re always connected, and the Tax Authority needs to make sure the server is always working. Each one of these can face penalties for not fluffing their duties. All the data will be secured, and the information exchange between taxpayers and the Tax Authority will be encrypted.
Montenegro firmly believes that the new system will bring for much more tax collection and more monitoring over taxpayers. The authorities are using Slovenia and Croatia as positive examples, and they believe the situation in Montenegro should be even better.
Moreover, the new fiscal system will make the job for tax inspectors much easier – if one of the inspectors notices a certain café isn’t issuing receipts for a while, they can easily send someone to check and oversee the situation. This should save much time and effort; re-directing it to more important things.
The public opinion on how the situation will be after January seems to be split into two – those who believe Montenegro is ready, and those who believe this is not yet the time for such a huge change.