Although tipping has always been part of the dining culture in Serbia, it has never been officially regulated.
However, tip could possibly be found as an item on the fiscal receipt in Serbia in the near future, as the Business Association of the Hotel and Hospitality Industry HORES is working on a proposal at the moment, which will be sent to the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Finance as an initiative to introduce tipping into legal flows.
This is not the first time that restaurateurs in Serbia are asking for the introduction of tips into legal channels. For years they have been trying to find an acceptable solution for the treatment of tips with the tax authorities as their main argument is the fact that inspectors do not tolerate any excess money in the cash register and that is why they write fines and even close bars.
According to the president of the HORES, the main dilemma at the moment is whether it should be mandatory or voluntary. There are two possible solutions.
The first one is to introduce the item ‘service’ on the bills and make 10 percent mandatory for the consumer, without being taxed up to that amount.
Another option is that whoever is not satisfied with the service has the option not to pay that amount.
The money would be distributed among the waiters, cooks and staff working in the restaurant. If it is the accommodation, then the collected tip would be distributed to the maids and employees at the reception.
On the other hand, some of the local tax advisors do not think that this initiative will have a good outcome. As reason for this, they cite the fact that it’s not realistic for the state to allow restaurateurs to use 10 percent of the tip as untaxed income, as this would most probably lead to different manipulations by many of them.
The final decision regarding this has yet to be made, and as this is also a current issue in the neighbouring countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, possible practical changes may arise there as well.
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