2018 Draft Budget Bill

Considered that “it should have been the subject of an independent law and a national debate”.

 

ALDIC: Include the draft budget a provision to settle and provide amnesty to Tax evaders and infringers until 2016 challenges Tax justice and fairness and encourages said evaders and infringers to the detriment of those who were committed to his/its obligations. The Lebanese Association for Taxpayers’ Rights (ALDIC) considered that the inclusion in the 2018 Draft Budget Bill submitted to the Council of Ministers of an item entitled “Settling the status of taxpayers up to 2016 inclusive”, intended to Tax evaders and infringers, is a breach of horizontal tax justice and the “constitutional” principle of equality before the tax. It contributes to the encouragement of wrongdoings and tax evasion of obligations, by “encouraging and absolving violators to the detriment of those who are bound and respectful to their legal and national obligations.” This measure should have been an independent national debate “rather than inclusion” within the provisions of the terms and budget allocations in order to avoid negative reactions “and to facilitate approval.” ALDIC noted in a statement issued on Monday that Article 18 of Chapter Three (ie: tax amendments) in the 2018 Draft Budget Bill submitted to the Council of Ministers “recognizes and allows the settlement of the status of taxpayers until the year 2016 inclusive, to date, 2017 is still in hand, “surprisingly the inclusion of this article,” despite the promises made and the assurances of officials responsible for the repetition of the 2018 draft budget bill of any new tax procedures or materials can be described as knights of the budget bill (les cavaliers budgétaires). In this statement, the Association explained that “this procedure settles the situation of all conspirators, violators, smugglers and those who have failed completely and comprehensively, and thus absolves them of any liability or prosecution, for a low value meeting that is not commensurate with the size of the offenses, the deliberate evasion and the fraud described.” “This measure is considered, in terms of public finances and the rights of taxpayers, the size of the amnesty law for crimes committed during the war, issued in 1991,” and considered that “it was therefore required to be the subject of an independent law and national debate, but it was included in the budget provisions and provisions to avoid negative reactions of citizens and deputies and facilitate their approval in the context of the accelerated accelerator required as a prerequisite for the conferences of Rome 2 in Italy and Seder 1 in Paris. ” While ALDIC expressed its “understanding of the reasons for such action, which falls within the basket of international conditions and demands to expand the tax base and improve the volume of tax  imports (collection) and budgetary revenues,” it warned against the adoption of this proposal, which challenges horizontal tax justice and the principle of equality before taxation, as established by virtue of Paragraph (G) and article 7 of the Lebanese Constitution (“equal rights and duties of all citizens without distinction or preference”), warning that “any violation of this constitutional principle would expose the entire law to appeal and avoidance”.  “Such leniency raises the issue of tax citizenship and contributes to the stimulation of irregularities and evasion of tax obligations. The state loses its prestige and commitment to its morale and faith…

As it is not permissible to encourage the violators and relieve them at the expense of those who are committed to their legal and national obligations in the belief that the payment of taxes and duties will result in the nation as a whole to finance its needs and redistribute wealth and improve the conditions of its members. The Association considered that “the inclusion of several texts in the budget law should be the subject of independent laws,” an attempt “to benefit from the volume of items and credits that require study and discussion, and the media hype accompanying the vote on the budget, to avoid negative reactions,” describing the budget included these texts as a constitutional violation of the text and spirit of Article 83 of the Constitution, which is given to it article 5 of the Public Accountability Act, which provides that the budget law is limited to what is directly related to the implementation of the budget; namely the estimate of imports and expenditures, their clearance and budget balance.