Forward-Thinking Bjelovar Becoming Croatian “Tax Free” City

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of April, 2020, the decision to completely abolish surtax in Bjelovar, which is becoming well known as the most forward-thinking Croatian city, could not have come at a better time.

If Bjelovar’s councilors decide so at the electronic City Council session, the City of Bjelovar will completely abolish surtax after almost twenty years, according to Bjelovarlive. Given that city councilors have unanimously supported the cuts so far, it is expected that this time they will also unanimously support the proposal for its complete and utter abolition. If the councilors do make such a decision, Bjelovar will become the largest city among almost 30 Croatian cities that do not have surtax, thus removing the City of Samobor from that throne.

Surtax of twelve percent was introduced by the Bjelovar city government back in 2001, when Đurđa Adlešič was the head of the city. This local tax was earmarked for raising money for the construction of indoor swimming pools. At the beginning of last year, this fact was recalled by City Councilor Ante Topalović of HDZ. Although surtax was introduced, the idea of ​​indoor pools in Bjelovar were unfortunately never realised. On the other hand, for almost two decades, the city government has been collecting taxpayer money that has been used for other purposes. Namely, about 10 million kuna was poured into the city budget annually on the back of the twelve percent surtax.

As touched on above, the decision to completely abolish Bjelovar’s surtax could not have come at a better time. Specifically, due to the economic crisis caused by the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, the move is more than likely to be welcomed with open arms by most.

With the support of city councilors, Bjelovar’s city government began cutting surtax back in March 2019, when it was went down to nine percent. The additional three percent surtax on income tax paid by taxpayers who are domiciled or habitually resident in the territory of the City of Bjelovar was reduced in December of that same year.

“We’re really becoming a tax free city now,” Dario Hrebak stated.

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