If you call the phone numbers for donations for citizens from flooded areas in Macedonia, the telephone operator will take 118 denars. Of these, 100 denars are for the donation, while 18 denars are for VAT, which is 18 percent. Citizens are revolted because it is illogical to donate money to charities and pay VAT on them.

Same was the situation during the humanitarian action for donating funds through telephone operators for the victims of floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in May last year. Then, under public pressure, at a session, the Government decided that all funds gathered on the basis of open phone lines for donation will be fully paid as humanitarian aid for the victims in the two countries, along with the value added tax.

After opening the phone numbers for the donation of the victims of the floods in Macedonia, the dilemma of whether it is morally justified to charge VAT on money meant for charity was reopened. VAT Act does not provide for exemption from taxation in such humanitarian actions and it can only be decided by the Government.

The Ministry of Finance said that such a decision can only be brought by the Government, while the Agency for Electronic Communications (AEC) is only responsible for telephone lines.

Representatives of AEC stated for META that they are only responsible for the approval of the telephone numbers of the operators used for such purposes.

– Our Agency approves several numbers that operators can use in various purposes. These numbers are for charity and are also used for charging parking, for competitions and the like. So, the operator only decides what to use them for. We just give them free range. For this particular case, the Red Cross has requested telephone numbers for victims of the floods. However, only the Government can decide whether donors will be exempt from paying VAT – said Vladimir Ristovski, counselor of AEC.

We failed to get an answer from the government whether the decision still applies for exemption from VAT for charities, which was made for the victims of floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, or if it was a single decision, are they considering to do the same this humanitarian action as well.