Cross-Border Shopping: Slavonia Residents Leave 140 Million Kuna in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Lauren Simmonds

Everything from food to clothes to building materials are being sought and bought in Bosnia and Herzegovina by Slavonia’s residents.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 13th of January, 2018, foreign nationals filed 350,951 VAT refunds in the total amount of 14,380,238.06 convertible marks (about 56 million kuna) on leaving the customs area of Bosnia and Herzegovina on issued invoices for purchased goods in the amount of 98,969,873, 73 convertible marks (about 386 million kuna) last year.

Compared to 2016, 60,262 more requests were filed, and the requested VAT refund was about 3 million convertible marks (about 12 million kuna). According to a report by Glas Slavonije from the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina, foreign citizens spent 20 million convertible marks (around 80 million kuna) more than they did in 2016.

There were VAT claims amounting to 122,091 at the border crossings with Bosnia and Herzegovina towards the Vukovar-Srijem and Brod-Posavina Counties, which are crossed daily by Slavonians to go cross-border shopping, the figure equates to, on average, 334 requests per day. This is as many as 20,662 more than there were back in 2016, for goods purchased in the amount of 36.4 million convertible marks or around 142 million kuna. The requested VAT refund amounts to about 5.3 million convertible marks, or more than 20 million kuna.

The largest number of applications, amounting to 50,734, were submitted by foreign nationals last year at the border crossing at Orašje. It is one of the most frequently used crossings between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, over which in the first six months of 2017 crossed 2,127,957 persons and 932,717 vehicles.

The Brčko border crossing received 28,252 VAT refunds, Gradiška received 20,061, Šamac received 14,258, and Brod received 8786.

While Slavonia is faced with mass emigration of its citizens, and in the area of ​​Vukovar-Srijem County alone, 4406 applications for temporary departure outside the Republic of Croatia were submitted last year, it is interesting that consumption is growing. Data suggests that cross-border shopping-tourism continues to thrive and that citizens leave more and more money in Bosnia and Herzegovina each year.

Everything from food, clothing, footwear, baby items, furniture to building materials are being purchased ”next door” and one of the main reasons for cross-border shopping is the return of value added tax that is calculated at a uniform rate of 17 percent, for which Slavonia residents buy cheaper goods in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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