Fighting against Corruption, we more easily fulfill our Tasks. SRC Representative

“It is original that the three interested parties, the responsible persons of public authority, businessmen and civil society sit at the table and discuss current issues in the field, trying to find constructive solutions to these problems,” President of Armenian Lawyers’ Association (ALA), Coordinator of the CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition Secretariat Karen Zadoyan at the anti-corruption event “Corruption Risks in Taxation Sphere” which took place in Vanadzor today.

“At the previous event an opposition newspaper journalist and the representatives of the state institutions discussed sectoral issues. And it was clear that those were painful regardless of whether you represent the civil society sector or a state institution. The representatives of the state sector began to discuss the problems, without trying to defend themselves and without claiming that no such problems exist,” Karen Zadoyan said.

According to him, back in December of last year in cooperation with the government, particularly in the scope of cooperation with the Ministry of Justice they initiated this task, which should identify corruption risks in business. “We realized that there is much to be done in this field.” Karen Zadoyan noted that during the measures implemented under this program are a number of problems were raised. They were recorded and then meetings took place in the state institutions to discuss the proposals. It is expected that these proposals shall be submitted to the regular meeting of the government’s Anti-Corruption Council.

“This project was launched last year during the event organized in Aghveran, because it was clear that there is much work to be done and there is a great need for this project. And the goal of this project is to achieve concrete results, for which we have mobilized all the interested parties,” Ms Naira Gyulnazaryan, Coordinator of Anti-Corruption Projects of OSCE Yerevan Office said.

Mr. Tigran Badoyan, a Deputy Governor of Lori Marz, held a welcoming speech. He also highlighted the fact that the event was attended not only by the representatives from Lori, but from the whole country who are interested in the issue.

Mr. Razmik Arakelyan, the Deputy Head of Inspection Organization and Monitoring Department of the State Revenue Committee of RA, urged the participants to clearly formulate the issues and give specific examples. Then there were reports on a number of problematic issues of taxation sphere, participants heard speeches and asked questions. One of the primary issues related to the tax inspector and the businessmen relationship. There are alarms that often hidden fees are collected; there are complaints about the work of SRC investigation body’s employees; there are problems regarding the document flow of with large businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises. Sometimes supermarkets demand from SMEs to formulate product supply without legal documents.

Regarding to this and other issues Razmik Arakelyan said that since 1 March of this year not any tax inspector is assigned to the businesses. And in any case, when the tax inspector visits the entity, he must have a special assignment. Currently the practice of reporting/informing about the liabilities, debts and penalties through the phone call has been introduced. “If there are disagreements regarding call reporting, you can approach our service centers. We have splendid service centers.” Razmik Arakelyan said that the phone calls are made by the women with friendly voice, the services at the service centers are also high quality.

He also noted that in addition to the above changes, the State Revenue Committee clearly established the powers of the investigative body. The trainings are organized for the employees of the SRC as well. He also did not exclude that some specific cases on SRC employees exceeding their powers may happen as well.

“Fighting against corruption, and by reducing the corruption risks, we fulfill our tasks more easily,” Razmik Arakelyan said and noted that if the corruption risks in business result in hindering the simple reproduction, in case of the state the normal course of tax collection is failed.

Chairman of Armenian Association of SME Accountants Vahagn Hambardzumyan spoke about the tax problems and corruption risks in the sphere of small and medium enterprises. Mr. Paylak Tadevosyan, President of the “Protection for Taxpayers” NGO spoke about overcoming the challenges of corruption. Mr. Carl Ulbricht, the International Expert of “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project introduced the international experience of application of effective mechanisms for combating corruption in the taxation sphere; Miss Mariam Zadoyan, the local expert of the same project spoke about the importance and prospects of cooperation with CSOs for implementation of anti-corruption reforms.

The event was organized in the scope of “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project funded by the EU and co-funded by the OSCE Office in Yerevan. The event was organized with funding from the OSCE Yerevan Office.