Duty free shops located at the entrance to Moldova will be deprived of customs and tax benefits from September 1, 2019.

Duty free shops located at the entrance to Moldova will be deprived of customs and tax benefits from September 1, 2019.

This is provided for by legislative amendments, the adoption of which was approved by the government. As the Minister of Finance Natalia Gavrilita noted, the current legislative provisions regarding the duty free shops and providing them with tax and customs benefits negatively affect the security of the national economy, ensure loyal competition, as well as the country's image at the international level due to introducing through such stores schemes for the smuggling of excisable goods. According to the Information and Security Service, up to 75% of the volume of goods declared as sold in duty-free shops are smuggled into Moldova. Moreover, certain volumes of goods brought into the country are not even unloaded to the warehouses of the respective stores, and some are smuggled to neighboring countries (tobacco products - Romania, alcoholic beverages - Ukraine). According to the government’s conclusion, the budget annually loses revenues of up to 140 million lei. An analysis of customs data over the past 5 years shows that from duty-free imports amounting to 2.8 billion lei, goods worth about 450 million lei were purchased in stores located in the customs control zone at the entrance and imported into the country without paying import duties. The Finance Ministry notes that maintaining the current tax regime for duty free stores adversely affects the investment and economic climate of Moldova and violates the constitutional provisions stipulating that the state should ensure the protection of fair competition. In this regard, the government supports the idea of canceling tax benefits from September 1, 2019 for duty free stores located at the entrance to the country, to reduce the risks of smuggling, ensure fair competition, harmonize the national legislative framework with European standards, which stipulate that duty free can only be at airports and ports. It is planned that duty-free shops located on the outskirts of Moldova, except for those located at the airport, will be closed after the expiration of the license for their activities in order to avoid potential litigation risks. // 12.08.2019 - InfoMarket.

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