Online shopping in Albania is not the same anymore and people are furious about it. All purchases over 22 euros and gifts remittances of over 45 euros, go through a total of 22.4% of the value of the goods (20% VAT & 2.4% customs duty).
In mid-2014, the government had decided to apply taxation for online purchases that exceed the value of 145 Euros, however, the latest move has sparked furious reactions all over in Albania. While the Tax Authorities on one side defend the new regulations as a way of regulating the competition within the domestic market, customers who turn to online shopping for products of higher quality and more affordable prices, have expressed their concerns over the new regulations, which according to them are not planned at all and only aim at gather more income from the already poor citizen of Albania.
A post on Facebook from an online shopper in Albania shows her experience with a process that seems to be not well thought. “The law for taxations on online purchases exceeding 22 euros is absurd and not in the favor of the citizen. But that’s not all. The procedure is ridiculous!
You wait in line only from 9 to 11 am at a hole that is 2 by 2, and with a small paper on your hands that has been delivered by the post. When you’re in the hole, a number is written on your letter, which means you can go and make a payment to the bank and then return to retrieve your package” says the post on Facebook.
However, according to statistics from the Bank Association of Albania, the volume of online transactions is over 150 million euros per month and during August and December, the interest of the people to purchase items online is higher. If you put this into perspective, data from the same source shows that in 2012, online transaction volume was about 80 million euros per month.
We don’t have any feedback from the relevant authorities in terms of how this process could become better, but in the current form, there’s tons of space for improvement.