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The establishment of an Administrative Court to take over tax cases
The Cypriot Parliament has approved a Bill for the establishment of an Administrative Court which would take over some of the obligations of the Supreme Court, including tax appeals. Taxand Cyprus discusses how this new Court will function and why it is necessary.
It is estimated that there are currently 5000 pending tax cases, each taking approximately 2 years to process, and another 2000 to 2500 complaints are filed each year, numbers which are unacceptable for a European Union member state in the year 2013.
The new Bill provides that an Administrative Court should be introduced consisting of 5 Judges who will be based at the Supreme Court in Nicosia. Its powers would be extended to cover tax matters. It is expected that the establishment of an Administrative Court would significantly speed up the adjudication of cases relating to tax issues.
Government spokesman Christos Stylianides commented on the above decision stating that “…it will modernise the Courts, speed up procedures, and help so that justice delivers decisions at the right time, without the extensions that create problems”.
According to the Minister of Justice Ionas Nicolaou, the Government is pushing for immediate voting of this legislation, so that the Administrative Court can operate by this coming September. The Minister went further to explain that the new Court will cut the duration of tax appeal cases by one third which will essentially eliminate exploiting delays in the current system by those attempting to avoid paying their taxes.
The power to consider tax cases will be transferred to the Administrative court pursuant to an amendment to the constitution.
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Also published in Thomson Reuters' Taxnet Pro, 28 March 2014
This new development will certainly be welcomed by legal professionals who have insisted for a long time that the judicial system precludes justice to be done as it is fraught with unjustified delays which where undoubtedly exploited by taxpayers in order to postpone their obligations towards the tax authorities.