Lithuania commemorated its first “Respect for Taxpayers Day” on May 11, 2018. This coincided with Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI)’s launch of The Charter of Taxpayers’ Rights, which assembles and explains the rights of taxpayers that are spread amongst several laws.
“It is common in Lithuania to speak of taxpayers’ obligations and certainly not their rights,” said Žilvinas Šilėnas, president of LFMI. “Tax authorities do not miss on threatening citizens with penalties, but they are not as diligent when it comes to guaranteeing taxpayers’ rights.”
Among the twenty taxpayers’ rights listed in the Charter are the right to an effective tax system and good tax governance, as well as the right to appeal the decisions of tax authorities. Each right is clearly defined in addition to their legal applications.
“We wanted to pool together an inventory of taxpayers’ rights so that people can make the most of the available means to protect their legal interests,” continued Šilėnas. “For example, today very few taxpayers are aware of their right to plan taxes or the right to adopt a business model that allows a maximum return on investment at a minimum tax expense.”
The Respect for Taxpayers Day became an official commemorative day in Lithuania as the result of the adoption LFMI’s successful petition earlier in 2018.
“Tax laws should only be adopted after a careful impact assessment and extensive public consultations,” said Ieva Valeškaitė, tax policy analyst at LFMI. “They should be consistent and leave no room for ambiguity. Only then can taxpayers be sure that they can avoid confusion and fully comply with the rules when calculating, filing and paying taxes.”