POLICEMEN WANT TO RUMMAGE AMONG TAXPAYERS' ACOUNTS
On February 26 the Parliamentary Budgetary and Finance Commission discussed a draft bill on amendments to the Tax Procedures Code. Provisions entitling the heads of the regional departments of the Interior Ministry to require information about the financial status of taxpayers were included in the bill on the insistance of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). Such information is presently secret and taxation authorities do not have the right to make it public.Even the Finance Minister may not look into the tax declaration of a ceratin person. Therefore, giving such rights to a MIA leutenant is merely nonsensical, the Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Budgetary and Finance Commission Muravey Radev resented.The commission's Chairperson Ivan Iskrov was neither fascinated by MIA's proposal, but he was more laconic. The opportunity for requiring such information, which is secret, has been reduced to a very low level, he said. According to Mr. Iskrov, this will create conditions for unscrupulous police officers to racketeer citizens and firms. The other members of the Parliamentary Budgetary and Finance Commission shared this opinion and decided to change this provision between the first and the second hearing of the bill at the National Assembly.Only MIA's representative Maya Dobrovska tried to justify the necessity of approving such a provision. She explained that the inquiries into taxation offences are made in the regional police departments and their heads should therefore have access to such confidential information. According to Ms. Dobrovska, the citizens and firms' rights when using information from their tax declarations are guaranteed by the court. Access to information from the tax declarations may be allowed by court only, at that after recieval of a motivated claim from the respective police department. The deputies from the Parliamentary Budgetary and Finance Commission and the representatives of the taxation administration could not reach a complete understanding on the question who should collect the fines, imposed by the Traffic Police under the Road Traffic Act. It was proposed that the fines, which have not been paid within six months after they were imposed, should be treated as overdue liabilities to the State and should be gathered by the Agency for State Receivables.Can you imagine the quantity of fines to be transferred to the agency? This will make pointless its specialized activity, Muravey Radev commented. His apprehsions were shared by Ivan Iskrov as well (which is unprecedented consensus), who pointed out that an attempt was made to return the old practice for the tax administration to collect all fees, fines, etc.The Director of Tax Police with the Finance Ministry Stoyan Markov recalled that nobody is presently in charge of collecting the fines, imposed under the Road Traffic Act. Currently, there are 2,200,000 unpaid fines, imposed by the Traffic Police, Georgi Popov, Head of the Chief Taxation Directorate, announced. The problem, according to him, is that it would be very expensive for the State if the taxation authorities begin collecting them. Experts have pre-estimated the costs for the collection of each fine at about BGN17.