A case initiated with respect to a norm that defines a repeated tax offence
On 14 June 2022, the 1st Panel of the Constitutional Court initiated the case “On Compliance of Para 2 of Section 324 (2) of the Law “On Taxes and Fees” with the Second Sentence of Article 92 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia”, on the basis of the Senate’s application (application No. 101/2022).
The Contested Norm
Section 324 (2) of the law “On Taxes and Fees” provides: (2) A repeated tax offence is such tax violation that meets the following criteria:
1) the previous tax offence was found during a tax review (audit) which has been completed, and the abovementioned tax offence has been committed not later than within three years of committing the repeated offence;
2) the decision on the findings of the tax review (audit) for which the taxpayer was subject to liability in accordance with Section 32 of this Law for committing the previous offence has entered into effect and is uncontestable or it has been appealed before a court;
3) in the administrative act issued by the tax administration, it has substantiated the repeated tax offence with the same provisions of the law or regulation related to the provision, and, where changes have been made to the law or regulation, with provisions which are analogous to the those used for the substantiation of the previous tax offence.”
The Norm of Higher Legal Force
The second sentence of Article 92 of the Satversme of the Republic of Latvia provides: “Everyone shall be presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been established in accordance with law.”
The applicant is adjudicating an administrative case, which has been initiated on the basis of an application by a legal person regarding revocation of a part of the decision by the State Revenue Service. By this decision, inter alia, a fine had been calculated for the person for a repeated tax offence. The applicant holds that Para 2 of Section 324 (2) of the law “On Taxes and Fees”, insofar it provides that a tax offence is deemed to be repeated also if the decision on the results of tax review (audit), by which the taxpayer has been made liable for the previous tax offence, had been appealed against in a court, is incompatible with the second sentence of Article 92 of the Satversme. Namely, allegedly, the contested norm allows making a presumption of a person’s guilt of committing a repeated tax offence before the legal proceedings have been concluded and the final ruling has entered into force. Thus, the principle of presumption of innocence is not respected.
The Constitutional Court has requested the institution, which issued the contested act, the Saeima, to submit to the Constitutional Court by 15 August 2022 a written reply, presenting the facts of the case and legal substantiation.
- The term for preparing the case is 15 November 2022.
The Court will decide on the type of proceedings for hearing the case and the date after the case has been prepared.
The decision on initiating the case is available here.
Press release in PDF is available here.
Linked case: 2022-22-01