Results of the Act of the Year 2014 Survey
Entrepreneurs Call for a Single Effective Date for Introducing New Legal Regulations
Prague, 28 May 2015 – The winner of the Act of the Year 2014 survey, in which entrepreneurs, companies and experts voted for the best legislative achievement of the year, is the amendment to the Employment Act and the Trade Licencing Act, reducing the administrative burden and the minimum penalty for entrepreneurs. The amendment to the Tax Code, introducing the possibility of the cancellation of the late payment penalty and default interest, won second place. Such were the results of the sixth edition of the Act of the Year survey, which was organised by Ambruz & Dark Deloitte Legal in cooperation with the survey’s partners. 424 leading Czech companies took part in the voting.
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“The results of this year’s survey were very tight. They have shown that above all, entrepreneurs tend to appreciate steps that lead to 1) reducing administrative burden and 2) reasonable sanctioning, whether this concerns unemployment or fulfilling tax liabilities,” said Tomáš Babáček, Associate Partner at Ambruz & Dark Deloitte Legal and the chairman of the Organisational Committee and the Nomination Committee of the Act of the Year survey.
The vast majority of entrepreneurs also agreed on the need to introduce a single effective date for legislative changes that concern entrepreneurs: when voting for the worst legislative achievement of the year (the “Flop of the Year”), they drew attention to the negative impact that the complicated nature of tax regulations and their last-minute changes have on running businesses (three VAT rates and the reverse charge VAT treatment may serve as examples).
Comments on the Results of the Act of the Year 2014 Survey
“The Act of the Year 2014 survey also confirmed the findings of a recent Deloitte survey that focused on tax certainty, in which the majority of the companies questioned (93.1%) stated that they would prefer tax legislation changes to always become effective as of one or two specific dates in the year (such as 1 January or 1 July),” added Tomáš Babáček.
Another factor contributing to the general dissatisfaction with tax regulations is their unclear interpretation, which is often more closely specified even several months after they become effective. However, taxpayers have to comply with the given legislation right from the beginning, despite the fact that nobody is able to provide any guidance on what is correct and what is not. The introduction of a single effective date would also help resolve this problem, provided that a minimum, eg three-month period is maintained between the moment the given regulation is adopted and the moment it becomes effective. This would ensure that at least a minimum amount of time is provided for entrepreneurs to prepare and for unclear interpretations to be clarified,” remarked Lucie Rytířová from the Tax function of Deloitte Czech Republic.
“I am very glad that the second place for positive changes was awarded to a regulation that improves the process of adopting new legislation. It introduces more transparency and public control, obligatory statements of reasons for amendments and a reasonable prolonging of the time period before the final voting on laws in the third reading. Adopting these changes had been proposed to the Chamber of Deputies for a long time and it has finally happened. Although nobody would have admitted it, many deputies were actually satisfied with the previous state of affairs,” added František Korbel, a member of the nomination committee of the Act of the Year survey, a partner at the Havel, Holásek & Partners law firm and a member of the Legislative Council of the Government of the Czech Republic.
“The winners of the survey, both in the positive and the negative sense, basically reflect the same issue over and over again: entrepreneurs are very upset about last-minute changes and the lack of clarity in legal regulations. On the other hand, they always appreciate when the state acts as a transparent and predictable partner, who is tolerant to those that break the law unintentionally,” said Štěpán Holub, a member of the Nomination Committee of the Act of the Year survey and a partner at the Holubová advokáti law firm.
“The amendment to the Tax Code which concerns forgiving tax appurtenance liabilities is a much-welcomed change among taxable entities. At the same time, this change works as a positive motivation for meeting tax obligations, as one of the basic possibilities of submitting a request for the cancellation of the tax appurtenances is actually paying the tax due,” added Petra Petlachová, the press officer of the General Financial Directorate.
Results of the Act of the Year 2014 Survey
Act of the Year 2014 – Best Legislative Achievement for the Business Environment
- Less administration and restrictions (Employment Act, Trade Licencing Act) | 34%
- Fair payment of taxes pays off | 32.5%
- Transparent adoption of acts (amendment to the Rules of Procedure of the Chamber of Deputies) | 17.3%
- Partner for a private sphere (Civil Service Act) | 8.9%
- Public regulation at the right place (Act on Cyber Security) | 7.3%
Flop of the Year 2014 – Worst Legislative Achievement for the Business Environment
- Tax regulations once again more complicated and passed at the last minute (three VAT rates and VAT reverse charge) | 44.2%
- Hit and miss: amendment to the lawyers’ tariff | 29.7%
- Useless information obligation of entrepreneurs (information on the origin of food) | 9.4%
- Civil service act: aims not achieved | 9.4%
- Useless administrative burden instead of solutions to real problems (bio-waste sorting instead of waste purchase facilities regulation) | 7.3%