Friday, 19 July

Armenia: Tax Authorities Criticized for Heavy Handedness at 2018 Budget Hearings

At today’s parliamentary hearing on Armenia’s 2018 draft budget bill, Deputy Finance Minister Atom Janjoughazyan said that next year’s revenues are estimated to hit 1.307 trillion AMD (US$2.709 billion) and that 97% will derive from taxes and fees.

State Revenue Commission Deputy Chairman Vakhtang Mirumyan, who was also in attendance, was asked about complaints from small business owners that tax inspectors frequently demand tax payments in advance, threatening to take them to court if they don’t pay.

Mirumyan said any talk about pressuring business owners was absurd. While confessing that tax authorities had committed some violations in the past, handing out fines due to faulty tax payment calculations, he had no idea what pressure tactics MP Sergey Bagratyan, from the Tsarukyan Alliance, was referring to.

Bagratyan responded that business owners have told him that tax inspectors are intentionally writing violations that total more than four million AMD so that the Investigative Committee can be brought into the case.

When State Revenue Committee Chairman Vardan Harutyunyan asked Bagratyan to cite a specific example of such behavior, the MP said he’d get back with the details.

 Bagratyan also wanted to know how Armenia could expect to attract more foreign investment if, “business owners are attacked from 27 directions.”

Mirumyan shot back that he wouldn’t describe the actions of tax authorities in such a manner.

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