Tax issues again hit the top of complaints list considered by the Business Ombudsman
In Q3 2022, the Business Ombudsman Council continued working in Helpline mode, which it introduced at the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the russian federation. The Helpline became almost the only way to submit an appeal to the institution during the war.
During July-September, BOC received 308 business complaints and completed the investigation of 146 cases. From the middle of the summer of 2022, the institution observed noticeable changes in business appeals trends. Thus, the issues of critical imports, relocation, cross-border logistics and reservation of employees, common in the first months of the war, were replaced by “tax” business problems pertaining to pre-war times. Tax invoices registration, inclusion in risky taxpayers list and non-enforcement of court decisions accounted for two thirds (68%) of appeals to the Council. Entrepreneurs were also concerned about malpractice, particularly, inaction and procedural abuses of law enforcement bodies – 4%. In order to respond to a growing number of complaints on tax and law enforcement topics, the Council resumed regular expert group meetings with the State Tax Service of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.
"On the one hand, our statistics reflect Ukrainian business resilience amid wartime circumstances and a kind of normalization in relation to state bodies, but on the other hand, these are not the norms yet that will contribute to recovery and reconstruction", Roman Waschuk, Business Ombudsman.
Despite the fact that changes to legislation made up only 2% of complaints to the institution in the reporting quarter, the Council draws special attention of stakeholders to ongoing investigations in these cases. BOC emphasizes the need for urgent formalizing the “United News” telethon operation principles at the legislative level. Regulation of the procedure for new TV channels participation in the telethon (including those whose broadcasting in T2 multi-channel digital TV network was terminated) will create equal access conditions to the news coverage for all media market players.
Meanwhile, in the ninth month of war, the Council reminds of no officially defined list of territories where hostilities are (were) taking place and territories temporarily occupied by the armed forces of the russian federation. Taxpayers from such territories, particularly de-occupied regions, cannot take advantage of tax benefits.
In addition to business appeals processing, in Q3 2022, BOC prepared two information brochures for businesses. "Business under Blockade” is targeted for
entrepreneurs from temporarily uncontrolled territories – it contains practical advice on preserving business, in particular in case of being forced to interact with occupational “administrations”. The Council has also collected existing business support programs during military operations in a separate brochure.
At the end of October, the institution completed an operational processes update. It is expected that from November 17th, 2022, it will be possible to lodge a complaint with the institution again through the form on the boi.org.ua website.
A full version of the quarterly report in Ukrainian and English is available here.
Annual report 2021 is available at the link.