Article 1. Introduction and Purpose
- This Charter of Taxpayer Rights and Responsibilities may be cited as the Taxpayer Charter and within its text is referred to as the Charter.
The full name of this document is the Charter of Taxpayer Rights and Responsibilities, emphasizing a balance between Taxpayer Rights and Taxpayer Responsibilities. However, for brevity it is cited as the Taxpayer Charter and within the text it is referred to as the Charter. The name is not to imply that it is a document which applies only to Taxpayers. It is also applicable for the Tax Administration in carrying out its roles of raising Tax revenue and administering the Tax system of the State and to the State itself as well as all applicable political subdivisions.
- Where defined, terms used in this Charter have the meanings ascribed to them in Article 2.
Certain terms are defined in Article 2. Otherwise, the terms are to be given their everyday meaning in the context of the laws of the State.
- This Charter sets out the rights of a Taxpayer in connection with Tax levied by the State and the obligations of a Taxpayer to the State.
This paragraph acknowledges that the Charter has a dual purpose for Taxpayers: to set out the rights of the Taxpayer in connection with Tax levied by the State and to also codify in one place the responsibilities of a Taxpayer to the State. The Charter is not intended to diminish any Taxpayer Rights which may be recognised by law or judicial tradition over and above the rights provided in this Charter. The legal rights of the State are provided under its Tax and related laws. The responsibilities of the State to Taxpayers and vice versa may be expanded and/or clarified by this Charter.
- This Charter recognizes the sovereignty of the State to levy Tax in accordance with its laws and to administer and enforce such laws.
The Charter necessarily recognizes the sovereignty of the State to levy Tax in accordance with its laws and to administer such Taxes. This is a fundamental right of the State and the levying of Tax is a fundamental hallmark of the right of sovereignty. A Taxpayer is expected to acknowledge the right of the State to lawfully levy Tax and to administer the Tax system.
- The rights of a Taxpayer under this Charter and the obligations of a Taxpayer are to be taken together with each given appropriate weight such that one does not override the other.
The Charter taken as a whole sets out a balanced model which should not be regarded as favouring the Taxpayer or favouring the State. The provisions are to be regarded collectively and read as a whole, such that one does not override the other. The selective implementation of individual elements of the Charter while ignoring others carries with it the risk that the outcome may be neither fair nor balanced, and could amount to an abuse of the purposes of the Charter.
- The overriding purposes of this Charter are to foster a relationship of mutual trust, respect and responsibilities of Taxpayers for their obligations to the State, and on behalf of the State as to the rights of Taxpayers, to codify the behaviour and duties of the Tax Administration, and through these means to reduce the costs of compliance, increase voluntary compliance, and ensure that all Taxpayers are treated fairly, equally and without bias or preference.
This paragraph, broadly speaking, outlines the overriding purposes of the Charter. It is anticipated that under the Charter there will be benefits for Taxpayers and benefits for the State. By promoting a fair Tax system, and one which is based on mutual trust, respect, and acknowledgement of responsibilities on both sides, benefits should result both for the State and for Taxpayers. Complying with the laws of the State in connection with the raising of Taxes is a fundamental duty of Taxpayers. It is clear that Taxpayers will be more likely to comply voluntarily with a system which is believed to be fair and equitable and one which treats them with respect. This will reduce the costs of compliance, increase voluntary compliance, and assist the State in the raising of Tax revenues. At the same time, it is important that all Taxpayers are treated equally, and without bias or preference.
This does not negate the ability of the State to develop legislation which provides incentives for various sectors of the economy, or gives particular treatment to certain Taxpayers through the due process of law. However, and most fundamentally, in like circumstances, Taxpayers are to be treated equally.