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Albania Plans to Hike Taxes to Curb Deficit

7 November 2014

NEWS 05 NOV 14

Albanians will have to pay more in taxes on tobacco and petrol next year, as well as higher income tax, the draft 2015 budget indicates.

Gjergj Erebara
BIRN

Tirana

Prime Minister office in Tirana. Photo: LSA

Albanians face higher taxes next year as Edi Rama’s centre-left government struggles to cut the budget deficit and meet the terms imposed by international lenders.

The package of tax changes presented this week in parliament shows higher duties on tobacco and petroleum products. Income tax rate will rise from 10 to 15 per cent.

Revenues in 2015 are forecast to grow 370 BN lek (2.64 billion euros) to 415 billion lek, (2.96 billion euros) while expenditures will increase from 456 to to 475 billion lek. (3.26 billion Euros to 3.39 billion Euros)

Albania is struggling to cut its public debt as envisaged by the agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Albania’s current debt is equivalent to 71 per cent of GDP, the highest debt t0 GPD ratio in the Balkans.

In addition to paying higher taxes, Albanians can expect to pay more for their electricity in 2015.

Some businesses however will enjoy tax breaks. Producers and importers of energy drinks will be saved from the excise duty imposed on them last year. The government’s explanation sent to parliament states that this duty had been almost impossible to collect and had damaged local producers.

The main chromium refinery in Albania will enjoy a 33 per cent cut on royalty fees, justified as a measure needed to boost domestic production. The government intends also to allow the fishing industry to use untaxed fuel for its fleet for the same reasons.

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