On 23.03.2018, a simplification of the declaration and payment obligations of several natural persons took place. The Emergency Ordinance (hereinafter referred to as “EO18”)[1] reduces, inter alia, the number of tax returns and changes the payment deadlines for these persons.

The essential news will be briefly presented below.

Scope of Application

EO 18 applies to the taxation of natural persons concerning the income resulting from economic activities, i. e. other than salary income (ex. income resulting from independent activities or intellectual property, or rental income for which the tax is not definitively withheld at the source).

New: single tax return

The natural persons concerned undertake to estimate the annual income by the 15th of March of the current year by submitting only one, single tax return (the 212 Form) regarding the income tax and social security contributions (the single declaration regarding the income tax and the social security contributions).

In the same tax return, they must also indicate the actual income of the previous year. In principle, the submission of the return will take place electronically. When starting a certain economic activity in the course of the year, the single tax return must be submitted within 30 days.

Salary related income as well as the income of natural persons resulting from economic activities for which the income tax is definitively withheld at the source shall not be indicated in the abovementioned tax return.  

The content of this tax return is presented in detail in the subsequently published Directive No. 888/2018 of the National Tax Authorities ANAF.

Introduction of a unique payment deadline

The previous well- known obligation to perform quarterly advance payments was abrogated. The income tax and the social security contributions will now be fully paid by the 15th of March of the following year.

According to the EO 18, a bonus will be however granted in case of an advance payment of the estimated annual income tax. The amount of this bonus, as well as the payment deadlines for such advance payment will be established by the annual budget law.  

Special rules for the income earned in 2017 and 2018

For the income earned in 2017, the following rules must be observed:

  • Tax-payers that had to submit the declaration 200 or 201 regarding the income earned in Romania or abroad must now submit the single tax return by the 15th of July 2018; tax-payers that had already submitted this declaration (200 or 201) regarding the income earned in 2017 before EO 18 came into force no longer have to submit the single tax return;   
  • The tax authority will issue the decision upon the establishment of the income tax and social security contributions owed for 2017 according to the legal regulations applicable in 2017.  

 Regarding the income earned in 2018, the following aspects must be taken into consideration:

  • The declaration of the income estimated for 2018 is performed by submitting the single tax return by the 15th of July 2018;
  • There is a tax reduction
    • of 5% of the income tax fully paid by 15.03.2019 in case of the electronic submission of the single tax return by the 15th of July 2018;
    • of 5% of the estimated annual income tax in case it is paid by the 15th of December 2018.
  • In case the conditions for both tax reductions are met, they will be cumulated.

Conclusion

The introduction of a simplified declaration system by grouping several tax returns within a single tax return is very welcome. In the future, the tax-payers concerned will declare both the actual income earned in the previous year and the estimated income of the current year through only one form (no. 212). Thus, EO 18 reduces bureaucracy, on the one hand. On the other hand, it encourages tax-payers towards a transparent declaration of their income and the timely payment of the income tax.

From a practical point of view, giving up on the advance payment together with postponing the payment deadline to 2019 will lead to a decrease of the state revenue. We can only wait and see how this will affect the budget. Tax-payers must be prepared for higher single payments. To what extent this will work - provided the system remains unchanged – can be assessed only in more than one year.