Case initiated by taxation committee against BHC resumed
Deputy Chair of the Supreme Economic Court Iauhien Smirnou appealed against the court ruling that cancelled the claims by the taxation agencies against the public association "Belarusian Helsinki Committee". The NGO Assembly correspondent found out about this on 15 October.
We would like to remind you that last year BHC won the case against the taxation agencies: the economic court of Minsk and then the court of appeals found the activity of the non-governmental organization to be in full compliance with the law. Courts at different levels repeatedly confirmed the legality of the international treaty that exempts from tax payments parties to the TACIS program. The taxation committee repeatedly sent appeals to the Supreme Economic Court and the Republican Procurator's Office. The last attempt made by the taxmen was successful: Judge Smirnou found that the translation of the treaty between Belarus and the European Union, on which the court ruling was based, had been interpreted by the court incorrectly.
Thus, the court will again review the validity of the Maskouski Borough of Minsk Taxation Committee's decision, according to which the human rights organization should pay taxes worth about 200 thousand US dollars from the received international technical assistance. According to unofficial information, the borough taxation inspection has not dropped the BHC case and continues to send appeals to different courts on the direct order from the Ministry of Taxation of the Republic of Belarus.
We would like to note that together with the launch of the case of the alleged non-payment of taxes the authorities brought a criminal action against the BHC Chair Tatsiana Protska and the organization's accountant. According to our information, the criminal case has not been dropped as well.
The launched reconsideration of the latest court ruling that cancelled the taxation committee's requirements to BHC may have unpredictable consequences for tens of other public organizations of Belarus, which have received funding under the TACIS program. Last year a similar problem with the taxation organs was resolved in favor of the Slonim-based organization "Will For Development", and now the Supreme Economic Court is reviewing a similar case against the Belarusian Union of Youth and Children's Public Associations "Rada".