Foreign Currency Cash Inflow and Management

by | May 14, 2015 | Blog | 0 comments

A business entity may receive payments in foreign currency to a bank account based on international trade operations and certain specifically regulated transactions within domestic trade for which payment in foreign currency is permitted.

The most common transaction which accrues payment in foreign currency is the export of goods and services. While there are no constraints on the use of foreign currency in international trade, domestic trade is predominantly carried out in dinars. Domestically, the use of foreign currency is permitted only for specific transactions regulated by the Law on Foreign Exchange Operations. These transactions include but are not limited to the purchase and sale of real estate and the payout of allowances for business travels abroad.

The state intends to minimize cash transactions, so the probability of receiving payment in a foreign legal tender is very low. According to the Law on Foreign Exchange Operations and the National Bank of Serbia, the use of foreign notes is only allowed in a handful of cases. Most of those exceptions are related to the international transportation of goods and passengers.

For that reason, to receive foreign currency inflows, a business must open a foreign currency account in a commercial bank.

In practical terms, this means that a legal business entity ⁠— a company or an entrepreneur ⁠— resident of the Republic of Serbia cannot receive payments for goods and services (apart from the exceptions noted in the Resolution on payments and collections that can be made in the foreign legal tender) in cash from international buyers. They can only receive (cashless) payments to a bank account.

International payment transactions are mediated by the buyer’s bank and the seller’s bank. The buyer requests a transfer from their bank to the seller. The buyer’s bank then receives the transfer request and notifies the buyer that funds have been allocated. At that point, the bank sends the seller a notice of foreign currency inflow. To receive the funds, the seller must complete the Notice and deliver a signed copy to the bank. Only then will the seller have the funds at their disposal in the foreign currency account.

The disposal of funds is regulated by the Law on Foreign Exchange Operations and its related bylaws. A business entity may choose to keep the funds in the foreign currency account for future payments in that currency (such as importing goods and services, travel allowance for business travels abroad, the purchase and sale of real estate within the country, and the like).

The Law on Foreign Exchange Operations describes explicitly the transactions in which foreign currency is allowed to be used in the domestic market. To use the funds for any other transaction, the business entity will have to request a conversion from the foreign currency to Serbian dinars. After the funds are converted and available in dinars in a regular checking account, the entity may use them for any payment legally allowed within the Republic of Serbia.


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