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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.

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.

CMS has advised Polish private equity fund Innova Capital on the acquisition of Slovenia's Trimo Group, a leading European provider of complete solutions for building envelopes and steel facade systems. The sellers are nine banks, including Slovenia's largest bank, Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB). The transaction is subject to merger control approvals and is scheduled to close in Q1 2016, once conditions precedent have been fulfilled.

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.

The Cathay Associates network of law offices, which was launched by the Chinese boutique Kejie Law Office in September 20015, reports 9 CEE members. The network was initiated to offer global coverage, with a special focus on China and cross-border matters.

After number of consultation rounds with relevant institutions and professional bodies, having undergone both parliamentary and media scrutiny, followed by the acceptance of an amendment relating to a contentious provision in its original version, the Draft Law on Investments was passed by the Serbian Parliament on October 23rd.  (“the Law”)

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.

CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati and Macedonia’s Polenak law firm have acted as joint counsel to Telekom Austria Group in connection with the merger of its subsidiary VIP Operator Dooel Skopje with One Dooel Skopje, a subsidiary of Telekom Slovenije Group, both operating in the Republic of Macedonia. Baker & McKenzie Italy advised Telekom Slovenije Group on the deal.

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.

The majority of criminal behaviours are quite universal, but what usually differs, among different jurisdictions, are the punishments and procedures of detection and the processing of the crimes. In that sense, the understanding of white collar crimes (WCC), as a group of specific crimes, is universal.

Serbia Knowledge Partner

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