UNMIK Issues Kosovar Administrative Directive Implementing NGO Regulation
9 May 2000
On May 9, 2000, Bernard Kouchner, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Kosovo signed Administrative Direction No. 2000/10 implementing UNMIK Regulation No. 1999/22 on the Registration and Operation of Non-Governmental Organizations in Kosovo. This is an important step forward in developing an appropriate legal and regulatory framework for NGOs in Kosovo.
The Administrative Direction provides detailed guidance to NGOs operating in Kosovo and to the UNMIK NGO Liaison Unit on the legal requirements related to registration, reporting requirements for NGOs with public benefit status, and NGO tax/fiscal benefits.
The Administrative Direction clarifies registration rules, including the right not to register informal groups. It also establishes a review process for denials of registration.
In Accordance with the Regulation No. 1999/22, the Administrative Direction contains special rules for NGOs that have been granted public benefit status and therefore receive tax and fiscal benefits. These NGOs must prepare and file an annual financial and activity report. In addition, an interim report is due on 30 September 2000 for activities in Kosovo through 30 June 2000. UNMIK has prepared instructions for filing annual reports and a model annual report form that NGOs may use. ICNL has posted the draft form on its web site (www.icnl.org), and Kosovar NGOs are strongly encouraged to provide comments on these forms before they are finalized.
The Administrative Direction provides special requirements for larger NGOs. Domestic NGOs with annual income or expenditures over 100.000 DEM and foreign and international NGOs with annual income or expenditures over 250.000 DEM must have their annual reports audited by an independent auditor.
The last section of the Administrative Direction sets forth the framework for tax and fiscal benefits for NGOs with public benefit status. It details the exemptions from customs duties, excise tax, and sales tax to which public benefit NGOs are entitled. It also contains specific procedures for receiving customs duties exemptions.
A draft of the Administrative Direction was shared with local NGOs in a number of towns and cities, and their comments were incorporated into the final version of the document. UNMIK also worked closely with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), which provided technical assistance on the Administrative Direction and model forms. With the support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, ICNL is working with the Kosovar NGO community and UNMIK to help build a legal framework that fosters the growth of civil society in Kosovo.