Thursday, 17 December 2015
The Protector of Citizens welcomes the resolution of the Government of Serbia which, after one and a half years, accepted his recommendation to stop the incorrect and unlawful collection of the solidarity tax and to refund any amounts already collected. The Ombudsman regrets that this had not been done earlier to avoid the additional financial burden for the citizens.
Acting on the complaints filed by dozens of women and organisations, the Protector of Citizens investigated the operations of the Tax Administration of the Ministry of Finance in March 2014 and found the solidarity tax was not levied only on monthly salaries higher than RSD 60,000, as was required by the statute, but also on multiple monthly salaries which were paid cumulatively to pregnant women in arrears.
The Protector of Citizens immediately recommended that the Ministry of Finance stop the unlawful and incorrect levying of the solidarity tax in those instances and refund any amounts unlawfully assessed and collected, but the Ministry of Finance refused to comply with those recommendations even after three meetings between the Minister of Finance and the Protector of Citizens and persisted in its incorrect application of the law. It was only after yesterday’s meeting between the Protector of Citizens and the Prime Minister in which the two discussed this matter that the Government passed a resolution which ordered the Ministry of Finance to remedy this error.
“Although the Minister of Finance said the Government’s resolution was sufficient for the Ministry of Finance to remedy the error identified in the collection of the solidarity tax, I would like to point out that recommendations given by a government authority authorised under the Constitution to oversee the work of public authorities, identify any illegalities and irregularities and point to ways of remedying them should have been sufficient in the first place. Had the Ministry of Finance acted as 90% of other public authorities in similar situations, citizens would not have to bear the burden of obtaining the documentation they need to qualify for a refund of tax collected due to wrongful actions of a public authority”, said Protector of Citizens Saša Janković.
The resolution passed yesterday by the Government of Serbia states that nursing mothers should submit the relevant documentation of tax collection to the tax administration of the municipality of their residence in order to qualify for a refund of the unjustly collected tax.