Import tax deadline reduced to 5 days instead of 30
11 businesses rally against new rules

The changes affect the companies of  the so-called golden list that include about 200 comapnies. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 12 Jun 2019 - 13:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

All companies operating in Georgia will now have to abide by the same deadline for paying import taxes – five days instead of the former 30 for certain companies. 

Starting today, the new deadline will be activated for import tax on only excisable goods while for other imported goods the changes will enter into force on July 2, 2019.

The changes affect the companies of  the so-called 'golden list', which enjoyed a number of preferential conditions, including the simplified customs procedures and longer deadlines for paying import taxes. 

  • Click here to learn more about who are the members of the 'golden list' and who can obtain this status.

The Ministry of Finance of Georgia explained that the 'golden list' will not be cancelled and all other preferential conditions will remain in force for its member companies except from the import tax deadline.

However, many members of the business society of Georgia are disappointed with the decision of Georgian Finance Minister to reduce the deadline to five days and have requested the minister to clarify the reasons for making this decision without preliminary consultations with the business.

Today 11 businesses published a statement where they claim that this change, brought about with no consultation or notice, will have a huge impact on the cash flow of importing companies, many of whom were already struggling with recent large increases in excise duties.

These 11 business union are the Taxpayers Union Georgia, Georgian Distribution Business association, Infrastructure Builders Association, Georgian Retailers Association, International Chamber of Commerce, German Business Association (DWV), Georgian SME Association, the Union of Oilproducts Importers, Georgian Producers' Federation, Georgian Swiss Business Association and Georgian Employers' Association.

Earlier, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) also published a letter to the Finance Minister, which reads that “we are also very concerned about what this says about the predictability of the Georgian business environment”.

We have already expressed concern many times about the way in which problems in Georgia's judiciary create uncertainty facing Georgian businesses. If the government is going to make changes to tax policy without consultation or proper notification, then that is a terrible signal to investors and will undoubtedly negatively impact the business environment and investor confidence more generally. This can only hurt foreign investment inflow and the creation of new jobs”, read the letter.

Deputy Finance Minister Lasha Khutsishvili posted yesterday on his Facebook account regarding the changes, and said that the main principle of the tax policy should be to create equal conditions for all players on the market.

He said that the 'golden list' includes 200 companies and he understands that it is difficult for them to lose certain privileges.  

Khutsishvili said that the argument that 200 companies are now in a difficult situation and that the changes that create equal conditions should not be made is the “wrong strategy”, given the remaining 50,000 companies have been operating following these rules “for decades” already in Georgia.