Andi Pacani at Boga & Associates in Tirana looks at the changes to Albania’s Customs Code and what it means for investors
Albania is a reforming country with a focus on the ease of doing business, low taxation and powerful incentives, as well as a motivated, educated and with cost-competitive work force. It is considered a vital and attractive country to invest in by international businesses. For some years, the Albanian economy has been moving quickly towards a more open and liberal model, where inward investment is playing a key role in the overall economic transformation. This guide focuses on changes to customs legislation.
A draft law on the Customs Code of the Republic of Albania has been prepared, aiming to replace the current Custom Code, which will approximate the customs legislation with the Union Customs Code, adopted on October 9 2013 as Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council.
The Albanian Customs Administration has introduced a new project called “Single Window”, which represents a system that allows parties to submit information and documents regarding import, export or transit-related data in a single portal.
The Albanian Government has signed an agreement with Crown Agents, an international development company, which will assist the Albanian Customs Administration to increase revenue collection; increase integrity within the customs administration; strengthen customs control and identification of violations; and build the capacity and effectiveness of the customs administration in line with the European Union standards. Crown Agents’ assistance will be delivered under the “Customs Assistance Program”, which will cover three main areas: Operational Impact of Customs; Human Resource Development; and Anticorruption.
Key elements of the new Customs Code
The draft law on the Customs Code of the Republic of Albania offers facilitation of procedures, unification of customs rules and practices. Simplified procedures aim at reducing costs and increasing legal certainty for economic operators.
The main focus of this new draft law is, among others, to:
• simplify the implementation of procedures regulated by the code related to economic operators (businesses) and the customs administration;
• improve, facilitate and simplify the customs rules and procedures; to harmonise the decision-making process; to set up more efficient customs procedures;
• unify a number of important rules and practices which, so far, are applied sporadically;
• improve those legal aspects of the legislation that lead to the transition of an electronic customs, paperless, and to introduce customs procedures for the authorised economic operator, including centralised customs clearance;
• ensure balance between the obligation of the customs authorities, providing good application of customs legislation, and the right of the economic operator to appeal against any decision unfavorable to him.
• determine all cases when and where the customs debt arises in order to avoid difficulties and provide legal solutions;
• define the rules that apply to specific procedures, enabling the use of a single guarantee for all these customs regimes and that these global guarantees may cover many transactions; and
• ensure the prompt release of goods when the economic operator gives in advance the necessary information for conducting audits based on risk analysis, etc.
From the procedural point of view, the draft law also introduces new provisions for the temporary storage, including the extension of the storage period up to 90 days and the ability to move goods under temporary storage without transit procedures.
Customs violations and sanctions are based on the "Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Legal Framework for Customs Union infringements and sanctions".
The customs administration primary objective is that the provisions relating to authorised economic operators and customs simplifications become applicable on January 1 2015.
Boga & Associates
About the author
Andi is Senior Associate at Boga & Associates, which he joined in 2006.
His practise is focused in accounting, tax and regulatory framework.
During years, Andi earned an ample experience in application of accounting regulations (national and international standards), VAT law and other fiscal laws by being involved in assignments providing assistance to local and international clients in both, Albania and Kosovo jurisdictions.
He received a Bachelor Degree in “Business Administration” from the University of Tirana, Albania (1999).
Andi is a member of Approved Accountants Association (2005).
Andi is fluent in English and Italian.