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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The Government's head and shoulders – Headless again the tax department

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The Government's head and shoulders - Headless again the tax department

We read in the press that the Government is looking for ways to get out of the impasse it reached after the decision of the Supreme Court to declare the appointment of Giannis Tsagaris as tax collector unconstitutional. The Government was aware of this difficult situation. He took a risk and lost, while it was obvious that he was wrong.

In short and without getting into a maze, the case is as follows: Despite the reactions and suggestions, the Council of Ministers, with the suggestion of the Minister of Finance, proceeded to appoint Mr. Tsagaris to this crucial position. The law, however, is clear. This appointment is the responsibility of the Public Service Committee. Stubbornly the Government does its head. In the first stage, he loses the case in the Administrative Court, but insists on appealing to the Supreme Court to accept another case. The appointment of Mr. Tsagaris is unconstitutional, the Court clearly states.

Once again, this crucial post remains headless as Mr. Tsagaris has no power and no right to sit in the chair of the Tax Officer. However, there are a number of side effects as legal circles estimate that, after the specific decision, a precedent is created and a similar decision is expected to be issued by the Supreme Court in the case concerning the Assistant Tax Officers. The issue of Assistant Superintendents was also considered by the Administrative Court and its decision was also clear that their appointment is the job of the Public Service Committee.

The question is what will happen to all those decisions that the Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendents have made for so many years. Will they be challenged by those affected? Will they go to court? Will they demand compensation that the taxpayer will be required to pay? And we are talking about cases involving hundreds of millions of euros.

Additional questions: Why is the Government's insistence on a process that is clearly illegal and unconstitutional? Which bills do some people repay?

The possible solutions

What is certain is that with the new data that emerged, the Council of Ministers can not proceed with the reappointment of the Tax Registrar and Assistant Tax Registrar with the procedure that followed previously, but their appointment should be done through the EDY, a time consuming process. According to reports, the government is working on two scenarios. First, to proceed with the same process that followed last year, with the appointment of officials by the Minister of Finance, for a short period of time. This, of course, must be done through a new bill, which will be tabled in Parliament. Last year, the plenary session of the House, by a majority, had approved a bill extending the period during which the minister is empowered to delegate powers, responsibilities and duties for the specific positions from a maximum of three months to six months. with the possibility of renewal for another six months. At that time, in fact, it was mentioned that the extension of 6 plus 6 months would be given to examine the issues that arise and to make decisions. According to the law, on July 2, 2021, the twelve-month assignment of the duties of the Superintendent ends, while on August 17th, the term for the Assistant Superintendents ends.

The second scenario that the government is considering is the preparation of a second bill, which will determine the procedure for the appointment of the Tax Officer and the Assistant Tax Officers by EDY. However, the Audit Service had intervened several times on the matter, which in its reports had suggested that the matter be referred to the Attorney General for legal guidance. In fact, he had warned that in case of delay in solving the problem, there could be significant economic consequences for the state, something that is easily understood even by the average citizen.

Source: 24h.com.cy

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