Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

POLICE CHIEFS SHALL NOT HAVE ACCESS TO TAXPAYERS SECRETS

The Parliamentary Budgetary and Finance Commission will propose to the National Assembly to vote against the amendments to the Tax Procedures Code, demanded by the Council of Ministers, stipulating access of the heads of the regional departments of the Interior Ministry to taxpayers secrets. The Interior Minister Georgi Petkanov could not convince the MPs that low-rank police officers should be entitled to rummage among firms' and citizens' tax declarations, trade contracts and sources of incomes. The prosecutors or the examininig magistrates will have access to confidential information if there are facts, pointing to a criminal deed on the part of the investigated person. Court may also order revelation of confidential information if theer is a motivated demand from the minister of the interior, the chief secretary of the interior ministry, or the director of the ministry's territorial office, but only in case the magistrates assume it is connected with the execution of their official obligations. Mr. Petkanov's proposal that a regional judge should be approving the motives for demanding access to confidential information was also rejected. According to deputies from the Parliamentary Budgetary and Finance Commission, this should be decided at a higher instance - at least a district court.From the three sessions of the Parliamentary Budgetary and Finance Commission when the projected amendments to the Tax Procedures Code were discussed, it became clear that the feelings will run high. Article 109a, regulating the reasons by whuch the tax administration may refuse to refund a tax credit, will probably cause the most heated debates. This disputable issue provoked the scandal, which began when the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act was discussed in december 2001. The only advocate of that procedure then was the former finance minister Atanas Katsarchev, who succeeded to convince the the MPs that the proposed change was reasonable. However, he agreed with the deputies that the problem would be finally solved by the amendments to the Tax Procedures Code.The postponement of debates on the disputable provisions would hardly dull the subtlety of the problem. It's more likely to additionally heat up the disputes. The proposed provisions allow tax authorities to refuse refunding the tax credit to a firm if it has particiapted in a chain transference of VAT between traders and it has been establsihed that any of then has illegally favoured himself from the indirect tax. The Chief Tax Administration (CTA) has observed the practice that traders buy certain goods and exchange them without reaching end consumers, Nikolai Polov, Director of CTA said when the bill was discussed at first hearing. In that way, VAT is refunded to companies, without money from the tax entering the treasury.Long debates were caused as well by another amendment to the Tax Procedures Code, which according to CTA's representatives should fill a lapse in the law to the benefit of taxpayers. The issue concerns the terms for entering corrections in already filed tax declaartions. According to the effective stipualtions, corrections may be entered within the set term for submission of delarations, i.e by April 15. If the taxpayer has missed that date, he could make corrections by the deadline for payment of taxes, i.e. within a month after filing the declaration. No amendments concerning this provision are stipulated for the time being.

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