Editorial: tax bill to spice up vacation

Taxman.

PHOTO: SCANPIX

Tax inspection talk is sensitive, any time. By recent no-confidence vote, the new government has added a dimension or two. Add to this the midsummer tax board announcement of boosted intrusion bill.

On the one hand, nice to know the ministers and bureaucrats are not on the beach burning and snoring, but in full initiative gear. On the other hand: it this decent to shock professional associations – in the hottest vacation month for those specifically concerned – with complex and potentially far reaching bills?

Forget the officialdom’s schedule. To do tax debate, society – interest groups included – needs abundant time and opportunity to discuss the issues. It’s a matter of inclusion. If this was no blunder but a deliberate political technological trick, indignation is totally justified.

Recalling: reacting to a bad habit of amending tax rules, Riigikogu this year set a general legal limit of «a minimum of six months, as a rule, between the passing of tax act, its amendments and their entry into force.» In essence, a promise that a new tax passed on Christmas Eve cannot be used to plug tax holes in New Year.

Taxman inspections are welcome fodder for the populist seeking a spin. Always, a generalisation is easy to word about another attempt to abuse the entrepreneur. And the other side is skilled at retorting with the usual talk of happiness and bliss secured by tax discipline. In reality, the devil is in the details and the happiness is to be sought by way of best balance between freedom and justified inspection to ensure a just tax environment. «Cheating liberty» for fraudsters makes matters worse for the honest businessmen. Equally true: a witch-hunt will create unnecessary unease for all entrepreneurs.

In a democracy, no interest group or business organisation may presume that tax rules come as they dictate. Still, polite and civil inclusion is paramount to create trust between business and powers-that-be.  

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