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On 29 December, 2015, the Serbian National Assembly enacted the Law on the Chamber of Commerce (Official Gazette of RS No. 112/2015). This Law will enter into force on the eighth day after publication in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, except for Articles 10 and 33 of this Law which will be applied as from 1 January, 2017.

The new Decree on the Content and Manner of Submission of Merger Notifications (“Decree”) which entered into force on 2 February 2016, has introduced the possibility of submitting a short-form merger notification, simplifying the procedure before the Commission for Protection of Competition, being the competent authority for protection of competition in the Republic of Serbia.

JPM has advised Delta Real Estate on the sale of its ownership quota in companies that own and operate the Delta City Shopping Malls in Belgrade and Podgorica — and has advised Hemslade Trading Limited on the sale of its ownership in the company that owns and operates the shopping mall in Podgorica as well — to Hyprop Investments Ltd (South Africa) and Homestead Group Holdings Ltd. Harrisons advised the buyers on the deals, which amounted to EUR 202.75 million.

In December 2015 the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted amendments to the Law on Agricultural Land. These amendments are aimed at improving the investment climate for investors closely cooperating with the governing Serbian authorities.

The latest amendments to the Law on Citizen Income Tax and the Law on Contributions for Compulsory Social Insurance provide for stimulus measures to micro and small enterprises, starting from January 2016.

One of the characteristics of the Serbian tax system is that it deals very little with the issue of tax treatment of payments resulting from family relationships. Except for the rule specifying that transfer of property directly related to divorce does not count as capital gain, and for tax exemption in the case of gifts between persons first in line to inherit, no other issues that could arise from family relationships are regulated at all.

Amendments to the Law on Corporate Income Tax were adopted at the end of 2015, introducing an important new element relating to taxation of non-residents in Serbia.

Amendments to the Law on Corporate Income Tax were adopted at the end of 2015, and came into force on January 1 2016. Among other things, these amendments introduced new cases in which the write-off of accounts receivable is recognized in corporate tax balance sheets.

Adoption of the Law on Enforcement and Security Proceeding in 2011 was of great significance for the Serbian legal system, partly due to introduced novelties in the course of enforcement proceedings, as an important stage in realization of creditors’ rights, and also for having introduced a new judicial profession hitherto unknown in Serbian law - enforcement officers (in practice referred to as private enforcement officers). After more than three years of application of this law it has been noticed that numerous deficiencies could not be remedied by partial changes, only by the adoption of new law as a whole.

Background

Serbia currently has around 250 exploitation fields where mining activities are undertaken, in addition to around 100 exploration fields where some of the world’s largest mining companies are present. Foreign mining companies invest between $10mil and $100mil on a yearly basis on geological explorations in Serbia.

The Republic of Serbia cannot boast of a speedy and successful transition. Privatization, creating a predictable business environment and forming a stable legal system began with Serbia already lagging significantly behind other countries in the region.

Serbia’s new Energy Law was enacted in December 2014. The principle aim of the new legislation is harmonization with the aquis communautaire and liberalization of the market, ensuring the freedom to conduct business activities and free access to the system for all third parties. The law also imposes an unbundling obligation and prescribes deadlines for harmonization of the operations of the companies active in the energy sector with the new law.

The new Law on Payment Transactions which will come into force on October 1st, 2015, will introduce significant novelties into the payment services market in Serbia, and will supersede the current Law on Payment Operations. Among other matters, it will regulate the use of electronic money, and the new organization of the payment system in the Republic of Serbia.

On May 7th 2015 the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia passed the Law on Protection of the Right to a Trial within a Reasonable Time (hereinafter: “the Law”). The Law will enter into legal force and be applied starting from January 1st, 2016. The reason for this delay in the Law's coming into force is to give the judges time to prepare for compliance with the Law.

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JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic at a Glance

JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic is the leading law firm in Serbia, providing full service in Serbia and SEE region. Since 1991, we have been serving national and international clients from various industries in establishing, building and maintaining their business presence in Serbia and SEE. Our expertise, commitment, experience and the highest standard practice has been proven and recognized on the market. Our track record comprises numerous successfully completed landmark transactions in a developing and transitional economy. We are committed to finding solutions and providing flexibility of choice to our clients.

JPM is the founding member of Top-tier Legal Adriatic (TLA) a Vienna-based alliance of leading law firms operating in the Adriatic region. It is an association of independent business law firms with an excellent reputation obtained both locally and internationally, providing a full range of legal services to foreign and domestic clients hailing from various industries.

Firm's website: http://jpm.rs/

TLA website: http://toptierlegal.org/