Taxpayer Rights under Afghanistan Laws
While it is clear that adopting laws and their enforcement create an array of obligations for citizens, in return for their compliance, the citizens also receive numerous benefits and rights. Tax laws and regulations are not an exception to this principles, and these laws and regulations afford the taxpayers a series of rights and benefits summarized as the following:
The principle of fairness to the taxpayer: fairness to the taxpayers means that on the one side a fair amount of tax must be elected to be paid by the taxpayer and on the side, the tax authorities must faithfully and fairly implement tax regulations. This principle is reiterated in the Afghan Constitution as follows: (. . . the amount of tax and duties shall be determined by the law considering social justice). The compliance with the social justice principles in Article 42 of the Afghan Constitution dictates that the tax agencies must treat the taxpayers fairly. Furthermore, article 5 of the tax affairs agency of Afghanistan impose a duty on tax officials to treat the taxpayers professionally and fairly.
Since unauthorized sharing of tax information of a taxpayer may lead to harmful results in the market, it is necessary for the taxpayer to have a right of confidentiality of their tax information so that they are protected from the risk of unfair competition in the market.
Article 106 of the Income Tax Law of Afghanistan reiterates the right of confidentiality as (if tax officials or their accomplices, for the purpose of a direct or indirect personal gain, reveals confidential information under this law, they will be introduced to the office of attorney general).
Article five of the Tax Affairs Law also makes the confidentiality of the taxpayer information an obligation of the tax officials.
- The right to access information:
Tax Affairs Law guarantees the right of the taxpayer to access to the following information from the relevant tax office: taxpayer status; receipt of tax declaration forms; forms and technical help from the tax agency free of charge and for the purpose of calculating tax; existing tax accounting information; request to change and update of inaccurate information; seeking explanation about the documents received by the tax office about the requesting party. Additionally, the same article directs the tax office to provide written response to a request submitted by the taxpayer regarding their tax status.
- Legal defense:
Legal defense is one of the important rights available to the taxpayer in case a dispute should arise. This right is provided under article five of the Tax Affairs Law. It is stated that a taxpayer has a right to defend their selves directly or through an agent, and obligates the tax authorities to listen to the arguments provided by such a taxpayer or their agent.
- Tax Return:
It is possible that sometimes a taxpayer may erroneously pay more tax than it is obligated to pay. In this case, the tax laws provide for the return of such an excessive payment of tax. This right is also expressly provided under article five of the Tax Affairs Law.
Masnad Legal Consultancy