Until today, the fate of the in dubio pro tributario principle has been uncertain. However, the Sejm passed an amendment to the Tax Ordinance stating that interpretative ambiguities will be resolved in favour of taxpayers. The amendment is now awaiting confirmation by the Senate and the President.
– I am glad that despite the opposition of some ministers and members of the parliament, we have managed to breach the inertia of the officials and introduce a solution which is a standard in the civilized world – comments Andrzej Malinowski, President of Employers of Poland.
The road of the draft of the amendment presented by President Bronisław Komorowski last December was complicated. The Ministry of Finance – contrary to the opinion of everybody else – tried to do everything it could to prevent an explicit expression of the principle being included in the act. The amendment was stuck in a parliamentary commission for weeks. Things started to change only after the President decided to call a referendum on it and lost the elections. The draft was passed on July 10th. As a result, starting on January 1st 2016, interpretative ambiguities will be resolved in favour of taxpayers.
In the course of the legislative procedure, several formulations of the regulations were considered, but at the end of the day the formulation initially put forward by the President. 427 members of the Parliament were in favour – only 9 against. The determination and perseverance of taxpayers made it possible to convince even those who were very skeptical towards the draft.
Employers of Poland were actively involved in the works on the draft since the very beginning and devoted a lot of effort to promoting the inclusion of the principle in the act, particularly by conducting a media campaign entitled “Wyrwij fiskusowi bat” (“Do not let the tax authorities bully you”), emphasizing the benefits of the principle for all taxpayers. These actions were met with understanding and social support which brought about a tangible effect.
Due to the weak condition of the tax authorities, a thorough reform is necessary. We hope that substituting a new act for the Tax Ordinance will help achieve that. However, maintaining the status quo until it is passed would have fatal consequences both for citizens and the treasury. The implementation of the in dubio pro tributario principle should be an indication for the direction in which the new tax law leans – a law which has to be formulated as clearly as possible and without ambiguities. If that is the case, the law will surely be more stable, contributing to citizens’ trust towards the state which – in light of the past actions of the tax authorities – is not to be taken for granted.