As focus turns to large scale tax fraud, City drops 1,780 tax cases

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The Addis Ababa City Administration Revenue Bureau (AARB) plans on dropping tax related charges against 1,780 taxpayers. The Authority tabled the decision to the Vice Mayor Takele Uma. It also recommended lifting tax claims by the Administration against 4,041 taxpayers. The Mayor asked for specific data on the status of the 1,780 cases. His decision is pending.
The Authority communicated with 10 Sub-city Police heads and the city administration police who handle tax cases.
The cases normally would be investigated by police, and then sent to the Attorney General, according to Tamerat Negusse, the deputy director of the Authority.
“There is going to be a legal procedure finalized before we ask for charges to be dropped, and now we are categorizing the data which will help us make a final decision,” he told Capital. “But we will strictly implement this looking into the gravity of the cases. For example, did they sell a cup of tea without a receipt or did they forge 100-thousand-birr worth of receipts.”
Five sub-cities submitted the data to the authority and more is expected this week.
The decision may suspend ongoing trials or release others from prison. Some files will be presented for a presidential pardon if those in prison applied for it.
According to the Deputy Director, the Administration is taking into consideration the previous law enforcement method of targeting small taxpayers but leaving the huge ones free. The City administration wants to change that narrative.
“Focusing on the bigger ones is a no brainer as the damage they create affects the entire tax system,” said Tamrat. “If the wholesaler doesn’t give the retailers receipts how can we expect them to issue one, so we have to enforce the law but our focus is on those who are bilking people out of a large amount of revenue.”
Initially the city lifted 50 percent of tax claims for cases in the Tax Appellate Commission, and the authority waved millions of birr for applicants claiming their estimated dues were too high. The bench will review cases after the applicant pays half of the claimed amount and the respondent, agrees to wave half. The applicants still can continue their litigation if they believe the estimated dues should be deducted even further.
The city is planning on training their employees on implementing the new way of doing things. If charges are waived those affected can apply for their withdrawal of appeal afterwards, according to Tamrat.