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"We simply don’t want to see a Bar that is owned by a handful of firms," was the explanation offered by Aleksandar Cvejic, Board Member and Secretary of the Board of the Belgrade Bar Association in support of the controversial draft bylaws submitted for a vote at the upcoming assembly of the Belgrade Bar on September 24, 2016.

The Government of the Republic of Serbia enacted a new package of energy-related bylaws in June 2016, which, inter alia, regulate acquiring the status of privileged power producer and temporary privileged power producer, incentives granted to privileged power producers and the content of power purchase agreements between guaranteed suppliers and privileged power producers.

Non-performing loans (NPL) are one of the principal problems of Serbian banking sector.

Serbia boasts significant mineral resources including lignite, copper, lead, zinc and industrial minerals. Geographical location and diversity of Serbia’s mineral resources are without doubt conducive factors to future investments in the mining sector.

The new Law on General Administrative Procedure ("Official Gazette of RS" No. 18/2016), enacted on February 29, 2016, entered into force on March 9, 2016 ("the Law"). The Law will be applied from July 1, 2017, except for certain provision that will start being applied 90 days after the Law enters into force, i.e. from June 7, 2016.

The new Law on Consensual Financial Restructuring ("Official Gazette of RS“ No. 89/2015) which came into effect on November 4, 2015, began to be applied on February 3, 2016.

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.

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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.

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TLA website: http://toptierlegal.org/