Gaya Company Accuses Customs Committee of Unlawful Actions

Every year the whole import of foreign media, books and paper only brings AZN 220,000 to the budget of Azerbaijan," Khanhuseyn Aliyev, director of the Gaya firm for distribution of printed publications, stated. This is a meager amount in comparison with the annual five-million-dollar subsidy to all media from President Ilham Aliyev. But for companies that bring foreign newspapers, magazines and paper to the country, 220,000 manat is a large sum. The company Gaya pays approximately all the benefits from this business for the import of printed publications, the need for which for the society"s intellectual development no one disputes.

Until 2005, when the Tax Code was observed in terms of exemption from customs duties on imports of printed products and paper, the company Gaya managed to develop on the remaining financial means. But from January 1, 2016, the Customs Committee (CC) began to levy a tax on these goods, despite the fact that articles 164.1 and 164.7 of the Tax Code exempt from customs taxes have not changed to this day. The CC explains the compulsory taxation of about 40 goods of this group with the cancellation of the Cabinet's 11th decision (2005) on the exemption of these goods from taxation. At that time, the adoption of the 11th decision was unreasonable, as the Tax Code exempted these goods from customs taxation," the director of Gaya wrote in a letter to Turan.

Khanhuseyn Aliyev considers the actions of tax officials to be illegal and intends to force them to refuse to levy taxes on imports of paper, newspapers and magazines. He is even ready to forgive tax collectors for the taxes received from Gaya since 2005. He sent letters to ministries and departments asking them to review the practice of levying taxes and received official answers, so contradictory to each other that the six court hearings that examined these letters also carried contradictory conclusions. And the final instance, the plenum of the Constitutional Court of October 2017, was completely confused and decided that it is necessary to note the uncertainty and incorrectness of the explanations of these normative acts in the courts.

We will not load the reader with an enumeration of conflicting paragraphs and sub-paragraphs. All the answers are unanimous about the fact that they confirm the obligation of companies to pay taxes for the sale and purchase of these goods within the country. Khanhuseyn Aliyev does not argue with this and he agrees to pay. And the difference in the answers concerns clarification of the reasonableness of levying taxes on imports. The folder collected by Khanhuseyn Aliyev includes the official answers are from the Ministry of Taxes (11.02.16), the Ministry of Justice (07.04.16), the Ministry of Economy (25.02.16), the Ministry of Finance (04.02.16) and the State Customs Committee (02.02.18), as well as the definition of six court hearings in 2016, of which three decided the correctness of Khanhuseyn Aliyev, who rejects the lawfulness of levying taxes at customs, and three others took the side of the Customs Committee.

In an interview with Turan, the director of the Gaya firm is surprised by the answers of those lawyers who believe that decrees and decisions of the Cabinet or Ministries may be above the law. "If they consider the Tax Code obsolete and do not match the financial needs of the state budget, let them change the Code and then importers will know that they are obliged to pay customs fees for the import of newspapers, magazines and paper. But the mentioned articles of the Tax Code do not change, but as the Tax Code was adopted and signed by Heydar Aliyev, the legislators do not dare to correct it; so I was explained in the backstage. However, by-laws cannot be higher than the Code, and this discrepancy was revealed in the final decision of the plenum of the Constitutional Court.

We live in a state of law. But two years of correspondence with state agencies and litigation showed that the country is not ruled by law, but by an average-level official who freely interpreted the law and passed a decision on levying customs duties on a narrow group of goods necessary for the intellectual development of the people," Khanhuseyn Aliyev summed up.

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