How will the exemption of food donations from VAT proceed in practice?

Working meeting on the implementation of food donation that is not subject to VAT payment held on 07/13/2023.

A transparent and efficient  system of application of the amendment to the VAT Law , and in connection with the exemption of food donations from paying VAT, will ensure that food reaches those who need it most. With the aim of establishing a system for implementing the amendment to the VAT Act, a working meeting was held in the organization of the Mozaik Foundation and partners gathered around the initiative  “No one hungry. Niko Sam”  financed by USAID within the program  “Legal Framework for Philanthropy”.

The unity of politicians, which they showed  by the unanimous adoption  of this amendment in both houses of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly, is an extremely important step forward for our society and its most vulnerable categories. After the adoption of the Law, the next step in order to implement it is  to amend the Rulebook on the Implementation of the VAT Law. The participants of the working meeting, representatives of public kitchens, the non-governmental sector, donor companies and relevant state institutions, explained that the provisions of the amendments to the Rulebook as well as the accompanying forms will ensure that the risk of fraud in the donation process is reduced to a minimum.

Muharem Mašinović,  assistant director for the Tax Sector in the Directorate for Indirect/Indirect Taxation of BiH (UINO), presented this process and the deadlines for the adoption of accompanying acts, stressing that valuable suggestions from this event will be carefully considered.

“Today’s meeting was useful for us, because we heard the thoughts of actors who are affected by the application of the VAT Law, and in connection with the exemption of food donations from paying VAT, and received feedback on the planned system and supervision of the implementation of this privilege. The ITA working group prepared the Preliminary Draft of the Rulebook on Amendments to the Rulebook on the Application of the VAT Law, which will be published at public consultations, and then submitted to the ITA Steering Committee. The suggestions from today’s event will be submitted to the ITA as part of those public consultations and the ITA will carefully consider them,”  explained Mašinović.

The first man of the Food Safety Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ph.D. Džemil Hajrić  spoke about the aspect of food safety and said that this Agency, in accordance with its competences, will help in the drafting of the Rulebook on the implementation of the VAT Law in order to ensure that the donated food, which is about to expire, in accordance with the BiH Food Law and safe for use.

At the working meeting, the results of the research on the implementation of the donation system of the regional organization  Catalyst Balkans , one of the partners of the campaign “No one hungry. Niko sam”, and the two discussions discussed the challenges of soup kitchens as recipients of donations and the needs of companies – food donors.

The meeting produced a review of the adopted recommendations, with the aim of finding the best solutions for the implementation of this important provision. 

“We want as many people in need as possible to have access to quality and regular meals”, pointed out the director of the Mozaik Foundation,  Zoran Puljić  , and added:  “The transparent and efficient application of the exemption of food donations from paying VAT opens the possibility that the quantities of food that companies now donate significantly increased. We are very much looking forward to the soon implementation of the amendment to the VAT Law in practice, thereby contributing to the reduction of poverty and hunger in BiH and encouraging the development of philanthropy, as evidenced by the presence of members of the Philanthropic Forum at this event”.