I thought that no fiscal practice in our country could possibly surprise me. Turns out I was wrong. The latest rulings of the Supreme Administrative Court open the door for solutions worthy of George Orwell and his “1984” – writes President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski in “Rzeczpospolita”.
– What was war according to party slogans in Orwell’s terrifying world? Peace. What was freedom? Captivity. And ignorance? Strength. Now let us move on to our world anno domini 2016. What is a presumption in law? Thus far, democratic states governed by the law were based on the principle that if the courts, authorities and institutions only presume something about the citizen but have no evidence, then they cannot sentence him – on the contrary, they have to consider him innocent. This is the principle known as the presumption of innocence – emphasizes Malinowski.
He points out that according to the aforementioned rulings the principle is to be applied in such a manner that the taxpayer’s outstanding payments may be collected based on a decision that is not final (first instance), if the limitation is due in less than three months.
– How does that look like in practice? The tax authorities hardly do anything for almost five years. The taxpayer hopes that the decision which is subject to be appeal is due to reach limitation. Meanwhile, at the last moment the peculiar interpretation of presumption means that execution starts. As an execution is underway, limitation is stopped and the taxpayer is faced with another five-year limitation period. Regardless of whether he is right or not, he can even go bankrupt, but this does not concern the authorities. The authorities are not in a hurry – remarks the President of Employers of Poland.
Malinowski reminds that assumptions are not based on evidence. It is a subjective, internal state. – Anyone can assume whatever he or she pleases, but this should not have bearing on the actions of administration. I shudder to think what would happen if other institutions also started to base their activities on assumptions. We would have to build bridges not based on mathematical calculations but rather on someone’s assumption that they would not crumble. Arms tenders will be settled on the basis of the minister’s assumptions, rather than the requirements and the quality of the offer. We will grant benefits, erect nuclear power plants and cure cancer based on assumptions. Absurd? Are the court ruling and actions of the tax authorities described above not absurd as well? Not every absurd is fun – some are frightening – he concludes.