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MALTATODY 20 March 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 20 MARCH 2022 19 LAW COMMERCIAL THE enforcement and the col- lection of taxes for EU member states is based on reciprocal co-operation between the EU states. This was held in a judge- ment delivered on 4 March 2022 by the First Hall of the Civil Courts presided by Mr Justice Christian Falzon Scerri in Kum- missarju tat-Taxxi -v- Ricardo Diaz Fernandez. The Commissioner of Inland Revenue filed an application, after the Belgian authorities asked the Maltese authorities to assist them in collecting tax- es due by the Defendant. The request was based on the EU Directive 2010/24/EU Mutual Assistance for the Recovery of Claims Relating to Taxes, Du- ties and other Measures Order. The Defendant lives in Malta and the Commissioner of In- land Revenue (CIR) held that there are all the elements for the enforcement to take place. Ar- ticle 9 of the legal notice which transposes the EU Directive, LS 460.08 states that the copy of the applica-tion must be served on the Defendant. From the evidence produced the Belgian authorities asked the Maltese Government to collect the taxes due by the Defendant in terms of the Directive. The sum due was only €1825.52. The Court held that Articles 9(5) and (7) allow the Court to register the claim as an execu- tive title. The scope of the Di- rective is to improve the co-op- eration between the member states. It is also aimed to not allow people from not paying their taxes by moving from one country to another. This is in the interest of the internal mar- ket of the European Union. The assistance is twofold. The law allows the exchange of in- formation and the collection of the tax debts. The author Ilse De Troyer in his article Recov- ery Assistance in the EU: Eval- uation of Directive 2010/24/EU: Time for an Update, said: "The success of mutual recovery as- sistance largely depends on the willingness of States to cooper- ate." In this particular case, the re- quest is not for information, but in order to collect the debt to the Belgian tax authorities. The Directive allows the col- lection of all taxes, duties and other monies. The Court is not meant to investigate the content of the request. Such request to collect taxes cannot be made if the tax is being contested by the taxpayer. However, Arti- cles 14 of the Directive limits a challenge before the Court of the country making the request. This was held in Kummissar-ju tat—Taxxi -v- Lottoland Lim- ited. The Court may refuse as- sistance when the Defendant is chal-lenging the claim before the applicant authorities and when the requesting authorities would not have made use of the procedural remedies in its own country. The Court may refuse to give assis-tance, if the request to collect would cause econom- ic problems to the taxpayer in the receiving country and when the claim is less than €1,500. The European Court of Justice held in Eamonn Donnellan -v- The Revenue Commissioners on 26 April 2018 the reciprocal trust must be strictly interpret- ed. Unless these circumstances exist the refusal to give assis- tance, will go against public order. In fact the Court's role is merely a supervisory role, as the claim would have analysed by the CIR, as the competent authority. The Court even com- mented that this procedure be- fore it is not required, however it is required if there is a dispute on the measures to enforce the tax debt or on notifica-tion of the claim. Therefore strictly speaking there is no need for the Court to register the claim. The Court invited the Minister of Finance to introduce new amendments to allow the executive title to be enforcea-ble by a judicial letter. In this case the Court does need to stamp its seal of approv- al. The Belgian authorities did follow the Directive and there- fore, there is no reason not to accede to the request. The Court then moved to up- hold the request and ordered that the Belgian claim is en- forceable in Malta. Enforcement of foreign tax claims is based on reciprocal EU co-operation LAW REPORT MALCOLM MIFSUD Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates US Embassy facilitates book endowment IN the month of March, the U.S. Embassy facilitated the pres- entation of over one thousand books to academic institutions and schools in Malta. The en- dowment featured volumes of American classics such as Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Cat in the Hat by world-renowned children's author Dr. Suess. The presentation also included new- er publications on recycling and environmental stewardship, in keeping with the U.S. Embassy's commitment to these themes and practices to maintain its LEED Silver "green" building certification. In addition, the donation included law books in a multitude of legal areas con- tributing to students' knowl- edge on the U.S. legal system. These academic resources are intended to benefit Maltese and Gozitan schools, students, and educators. In an age of inter- net, this initiative compliments efforts to nurture and support a culture of reading in schools. The presentation of these materials was made possible through the U.S. Embassy's partnership with the Ministry for Education's National Litera- cy Agency, the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta, Ver- dala International School, Qual- ity Schools International, and GLOBE Malta. The promotion of academic partnership and exchange be- tween the United States and Malta is a fundamental priority of the U.S. Embassy. U.S. Chargé d'Affaires Gwendolyn "Wendy" Green said, "We are proud of our longstanding partnership in education with the Ministry for Education, the University of Malta, and international schools to support creativity and litera- cy." If you would like to request educational resources on Amer- ican history and culture for a classroom or other facility, please contact usembmalta@ Books will be distrib- uted on a first come first served basis. If you are interested in organ- izing a tour of the U.S. Embas- sy's environmentally-friendly features for students over 16 years old, please also contact us at

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