Taxes of millions on the air due to an unconstitutional decision of the Minister

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With responsibilities that seem to be borne by the Government and Parliament, the state can lose millions of euros in taxes and debts

As well-known lawyers explained to Economy Today, the case with the unconstitutional appointment of the Tax Officer Giannis Tsagaris by the Council of Ministers – instead of the Public Service Committee – seems to cost the state several millions. This is because legal and natural persons, through the courts and by invoking the unconstitutional appointment of the Tax Registrar will be “legalized” not to pay anything requested by the Tax Department, by decision of the Tax Registrar.

Just a few days ago it became known that the Administrative Court annulled the decision of the Superintendent for the imposition of VAT amounting to € 161,792.13 by a company.

The law firm Kallis & Kallis DEPE, which represented the company in question, told Economy Today that “any decision of the Tax Registrar to be taken to court is already considered lost.” 

In order to clarify the size and dimensions of the problem, it is noted that the decisions of the Tax Officer are considered invalid, whether they have to do with customs debts, VAT collection or even administrative issues. As for the latter, it is recalled that the court annulled the promotion of an executive of the Tax Department who bore the signature of Mr. Tsagaris, citing his unconstitutional appointment.  

In simple words, as the lawyer Andreas Angelidis noted in Economy Today, the crucial Department of Taxation is essentially unable to perform critical for its fiscal responsibilities, because the Ministry unconstitutionally appointed Mr. Tsagaris to the position of Tax Officer.

The unconstitutional appointment and the insistence of the Minister 

Mr. Tsagaris was appointed in February 2016 to the position of Tax Officer following a proposal by the Minister of Finance and ratification by the Council of Ministers. This procedure was carried out on the basis of Law 70 article 4, which concerns the consolidation of the VAT Service with the Department of Internal Revenues under the Department of Taxation.

However, this law was deemed unconstitutional from March 2020 as it was in conflict with articles 122-126 of the Constitution which explicitly stipulate that the appointment had to be made by the Civil Service Committee.

And this, as Mr. Angelidis pointed out in addition to the unconstitutionality, raises the issue of transparency and therefore of a high moral issue. “As long as the appointment is not made by the EDY, as stipulated by the Constitution, and is made directly by the Minister of Finance, the Comptroller cannot be judged on his suitability compared to other candidates for the position.”

And while the Court issued a decision unconstitutionality of the appointment of Mr. Tsagaris, instead of the Minister to act accordingly based on the first instance decision, which is noted to be binding, he appealed. In addition to the Appeal, the Minister promoted an amendment to the unconstitutional law (!) That allows the Minister of Finance to renew the appointment of the Superintendent for 6 plus 6 months instead of 3 provided. The amendment of this unconstitutional law was also approved by the Parliament, obviously ignoring the decision of the Administrative Court.

The result of all this is, as noted above, that any legal and natural person who appeals to the court against a decision of the Tax Registrar within 75 days (from the issuance of the decision), can annul this decision!