Croatian Bureaucracy in Action: The Pain Required to Pay 1 Kuna

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I have a very serious suggestion – an application should be made for Croatian bureaucracy to be given intangible UNESCO heritage status.

Before it is too late.

As parents, we look at the lives of our children in their gadget-infested worlds, and the things that were mainstream in our lives just a decade ago are already alien to them. 

And so, too, it seems, in the world of Croatian bureaucracy. 

Against my better judgment – and definitely against a promise I made to myself years ago – I opened a sole trader company in Croatia today, the so-called jdoo. And I have to report that things had certainly moved on since my last company formation. The whole procedure at the public notary took under an hour, my startup capital requirement was just 10 kuna, and I was only charged 547 kuna for the entire procedure. 

A complete bargain. So much so, that I almost went back to start another. 

But I was truly shocked at the response to one of my questions.

“Regarding the stamp, do I have all the paperwork to get it now, and where is the closest place to buy one?”

“This is 2021. You don’t need a company stamp anymore.”

What?!? How will this company function? And how can the next generation of Croatian entrepreneurs truly enjoy the Croatian experience without the joys of the company stamp to add to their daily frustrations. 

If we don’t document this moment in time soon, I mused, as I headed over the financial agency FINA to register my shiny new company. UNESCO could protect this gem before all was lost to posterity. 

The security guard chap at FINA was very friendly and helpful. Once I had put my hand in the temperature check device, receiving a dollop of sanitiser with my temperature reading, I was sent to the very efficient gentleman assigned to my case. 

Lots of documents to sign, and then I was given four payment slips (uplatnice), which covered various fees – one for 60 kuna, one for 37.50, my startup capital of 10 kuna, and – fabulously – a separate payment and bit of paperwork with a fee of 1 kuna, which I learned was to pay for the confirmation of my payment of 10 kuna startup capital. A 10% fee to confirm a payment may sound steep to some of you, but it was a bargain when I saw the amount of effort it entailed to generate the solitary kuna. 


Before continuing, I should note I was a little disappointed that my 37.50 kuna came with a shortening of my names. All the other payments were registered to a Paul David Raymond Bradbury, but 37.50 seemingly covered only enough ink for three of my four names. 

I reached for my wallet to pay, but was directed to another department, which handles the cash transaction, then told to report back to this desk with proof of payment. Ten minutes of queuing brought me to a very efficient lady, who took my four payment slips and expertly typed the details into the system. My 1 kuna payment had now taken two effort from two employees, and I was rewarded with a confirmation stamp with my returned slip. 

But the 1 kuna journey did not stop there. Having returned to my efficient first staff member, he announced that he had to photocopy each of the four slips, one page each, for the records. Which he duly did with aplomb. I also got a photocopy of one, along with my four original slips. Croatian bureaucracy in action – this little kuna was definitely being earned by the State. 

But then… 

Having paid my bill of more than 120 kuna for services which I had calculated at less than 110 kuna, I went to check the little slip that had been returned to me.


My 1 kuna had become 3 kuna, as I was charged a transaction fee which was double the amount being requested. Suddenly, my 10% confirmation fee seemed a real bargain.

I am possibly the only person in the country who quite enjoys watching Croatian bureaucracy in action for its total absurdity. But with these forces of change, shall I lament the fact that it will soon be reduced to tales of an older generation in the name of ‘progress’?


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