After vote of no confidence by the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, the Czech minority government resigned on 17 January. It has continued as a caretaker government. New coalition negotiations have been underway. On 26 January, Miloš Zeman was re-elected president of the Czech Republic.
The establishment of a registry of information about the beneficial owner of a legal entity entered in a public registry and a trust fund entered in a trust fund registry is effective as of 1 January 2018. The prevailing opinion is that legal entities
entered in a commercial register are obliged to register their beneficial owners by 1 January 2019; other legal entities entered in other public registries, including trust fund registries, are obliged to register their beneficial owners by 1 January 2021. Details in English by Weinhold Legal.
From the sessions of the Chamber of Deputies
The Chamber of Deputies will debate draft amendment to the Act on Free Access to Information bill no. 50 suggesting that state-controlled institutions, including state-owned companies should dislcose information (according to Act no. 106/1999) and contracts within the registry of contracts.
Civic Democrats have proposed elimination of the regulation banning retailers with retail area larger than 200m2 to open their stores on selected national holidays, limiting their opening hours on the Christmas Eve, for example. This regulation was adopted in 2016 and does not apply to smaller retailers. The proposal was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies on 23 January.
Civic Democrats have also proposed elimination of the tax on the acquisition of immovable property from 1 January 2019. The proposal was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies on 23 January. Effective since November 2016, Senate statutory measure requires among others, that a purchaser would always pay the tax on the acquisition of immovable property; the parties in the transaction are not allowed to negotiate a contract in a different manner. This has lead to an increase in real estate acquisition costs by 4% rather than (anticipated) price decrease, Civic Democrats say. Before 2016, it was seller who paid the tax unless the parties agreed otherwise.
From the sessions of the Government
At its session on 7 February, the Government approved a proposal (bill no.76) on speedier construction of transport infrastructure, including highways and motorways, railways and high-speed railways.
The Government passed Plan of Legislative works for 2018, including 129 legislative tasks, and a legislative outlook for 2019-2021 (attached below). More details in Czech.
The Government decided on 17 January not to sign up to a legal appeal against air pollution limits approved by the European Union in 2017. More by Radio Prague.
The Senate draft amendment to the Act on Online Sales Registration (EET, o Evidenci tržeb) is proposing further exemptions from the set of entities obliged to comply with this act. Senators suggest exemptions for specific cases of social and health care services. The Senate passed this bill on 7 December; the Government expressed disapproval. The bill will be debated by the Chamber of Deputies. At the same time, Civic Democrats in the Chamber of Deputies have proposed elimination of EET (which was rejected by the Government in December). This proposal was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies on 23 January. Another attempt to reduce the reach of EET is bill no. 41 suggesting application of EET only to income tax payers who are at the same time registered VAT payers.
The Senate called upon the new Government to amend the Act on the Conflict of Interest that, in its current form, inadequately interfers into privacy of public officials by the obligation to dislose details about property owned by the officials and their relatives in a registry accessible to general public. Senators have also said that the obligation to diclose these details may deter talented local leaders from entering politics and paralyze townhalls.(Source: epravo.cz). The Government expressed disapproval.