Return of extra-profit collected from Mobtel carried out legally

Serbian Minister of Economy and Finance Bozidar Djelic said on Thursday that the Serbian government adopted a report of the Serbian Ministry of Finance which confirmed that the procedure of reimbursement of funds levied as an extra-profit tax from the Astra Bank has been carried out legally. Djelic also said that an expert analysis is underway which will finally establish the exact amount of Astra Bank’s tax liabilities, according to the Law on one-off extra-profit tax.

Djelic told a press conference that the Supreme Court of Serbia has ruled that a decision of the Public Revenue Administration on forced collection of extra-profit tax against the Mobtel mobile operator, issued on Nov 27, 2001, was brought in breach of the law due to procedural irregularities. The Supreme Court of Serbia concluded that a more efficient expert evaluation of Astra Bank’s tax liabilities, in line with the Law on one-off extra-profit tax, had been obstructed by numerous changes of the bank’s legal status.

Djelic said that following the completion of the expert analysis, the exact amount of Astra Bank’s extra profit will be established and the dividend will be collected, since the funds have been returned to Mobtel, whose 49 percent of the capital is owned by the state. He said that the Public Revenue Administration filed a request for expert analysis on Jan 22 this year. The major mistake in the tax collection against Mobtel lies in the fact that the collection was carried out immediately, without prior tax proceedings, which was the reason for the decision to be declared null and void by the Supreme Court.

The Minister of Finance said that the decision on the collection and return of extra-profit tax to Mobtel adopted today is a result of a proposal which he personally submitted to the Serbian government’s Committee for Economy and Finance in late December 2003. The decision, which has 27 appendices and more than hundred pages, will be available for public.