Every tenth worker receives their a salary either exclusively in cash or partly in cash and partly paid into their bank account, according to the results of the latest survey of people’s perception of the shadow economy presented by NALED, with the support of the national initiative for cashless payment called Bolji Način.
Experts warn that there are various tax abuses going on with such reimbursement of salaries and that quite a few workers receive minimum wage (paid into their bank accounts) and then the rest is paid out in cash.
The results of the survey also showed that the vast majority of Serbian citizens have their monthly salary paid into their bank accounts (79 percent).
On the other hand, every tenth citizen receives a salary either exclusively in cash (9 percent), or part in cash, part paid into their account (10 percent).
The youngest population (age 18-29) receives their earnings in cash more often than the national average (16 percent).
The Serbian Tax Administration says that in 2022, 2,157 inspections were carried out, and in 2023, 778 inspections regarding the suspected salary tax abuse.
Of the 2,157 inspections performed in 2022, irregularities were found in 1,695 (78.58 percent). Of the 778 inspections carried out in 2023, irregularities were found in 572 (73.52 percent).
The Tax Administration says that they perform the inspections in line with the regular, annual plan, which is based on the assessment of the tax importance and tax risk of the taxpayer.
Research associate of the Institute for Comparative Law, Mario Reljanović, says that it is a bad practice to reimburse salary in cash but that that practice has become a regular occurrence, adding that the state should do more to prevent this from happening.
“Croatia, for instance, made it obligatory a few years ago for employers to pay their employees’ full salary into their bank accounts and that is one of the effective ways for the fight against tax and contribution evasion,” Reljanović said.
He believes that there should be more tax inspectors, that inspections should be more frequent, thorough random and unannounced, and that the policy of punishing those employers who pay out salaries in cash should be stricter.
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