“Shooting sparrows with cannons” – a surge in tax complaints and BOC operational results in Q4 2022

In Q4 2022, the Business Ombudsman Council continued protecting legal rights of entrepreneurs against abuses of government agencies. During October-December, companies lodged 305 complaints with the institution, of which the Council successfully closed 265 cases. In particular, BOC additionally completed 290 investigations of complaints that the institution had received by February 24 and whose consideration was suspended in the first months of the war.
With the end of 2022, the Helpline launched along with the full-scale invasion of russia in Ukraine, ceased its operation. During nine months of the war, the Helpline was almost the only way to appeal to BOC. Within the helpline, the Council’s investigators provided free advice to business and supported entrepreneurs in solving issues which arose in connection with the martial law introduction. Having recovered from the shock of war and adapted to new challenges, business turned less and less with previously relevant issues such as critical import goods list expansion, relocation and reservation of employees. Thus, with the gradual return of “pre-war” business problems, mostly tax-related, to complaints profile, the Council has resumed the investigation in the traditional format since mid-November.
For the second quarter in a row, during martial law, tax issues hit the top of appeals, accounting for 71% of all complaints submitted by entrepreneurs to the BOC. Given a great public outcry around the surge in tax invoices suspension cases, in December last year, the Business Ombudsman launched the investigation into VAT system functioning problems on his own initiative. In order to identify the root cause of the problem and develop a solution to address it, the Council conducted a large survey of business community representatives, analyzed 1.5 thousand “tax” complaints previously processed by BOC, and initiated a dialogue with the State Tax Service of Ukraine (STS of Ukraine). The institution published preliminary findings on new year’s eve and is currently preparing a report on the investigation results to be presented in a few weeks.
‘In Q4 2022, we witnessed the implementation, and then partial leveling of fiscal changes that affected almost half of Ukrainian business, particularly, the law-abiding majority. Even before our final conclusions are published, it is clear that sparrows were being shot with cannons here. It is completely within the power of Ukrainian authorities to at least stop such “shelling”, Roman Waschuk, the Business Ombudsman pointed out.
Apart from considering complaints, BOC’s proactive work in cooperation with the STS of Ukraine regarding tax administration was ongoing. In November-December, the Council held the second series of webinars jointly with tax officials regarding the submission of tax documentation and taxation in temporarily government-uncontrolled territories. Meanwhile, jointly with the Ministry of Economy, the Entrepreneurship and Export Promotion Office, and the national “Diia.Business” project the Council held a seminar on business support programs during hostilities. You can watch the webinars here.
BOC strengthens partnership with “Diia.Business” national project, so that even more entrepreneurs from different parts of the country can learn about free services and opportunities to protect their rights against abuses of public officials.
Although the reporting quarter was full of the aggressor’s numerous attacks on Ukraine and its energy infrastructure, long-lasting emergency power outages did not stand in the way of the Council’s team to further conduct investigation of entrepreneurs’ issues and deepen interaction with government agencies and partners in preparing for post-war recovery.
BOC is working in normal mode. You can submit a complaint using the form on the website: https://boi.org.ua/en/podaty-skargu/
A full version of the quarterly report in Ukrainian and English is available here.

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