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President refuses to sign tax amnesty & property declaration bill

President Aleksander Kwasniewski has refused to sign into law the tax amnesty and property declaration bill recently passed by parliament and has referred the matter to the Constitutional Tribunal to adjudicate on its validity, the local press have reported.

The controversial bill makes it possible for taxpayers to disclose previously unreported income and pay a single 12% tax, and requires all well-off Poles to file property declarations by the end of April 2003. "If it turned out that the bill was unconstitutional after it took effect, it could cause huge and unpredictable consequences," said Kwasniewski at a recent news conference.

He explained that the tax amnesty programme raised the prospect of violating the constitutional principle of tax equality among citizens. With property declarations, the president was concerned that the law could represent an infringement of privacy and an intrusion into citizens' rights. The tribunal is expected to rule in November, enabling a potential correction in next year's budget, which forecasts 600 million zlotys in revenue from the law.

(NewsBase 18.x.02)

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