The cost of tax compliance obligations: compatibility with the right to property

Research project "The cost of tax compliance obligations: compatibility with the right to property"

Promotor: prof. dr. Mark Delanote
Researcher: Felix Desmyttere

Short Description

The research projectPostersjabloon-RE_FDS.jpg : “The cost of tax compliance obligations: compatibility with the right to property” commenced in the autumn of 2018 and is financed by the Special Research Fund of Ghent University.

The research aims at formulating an answer to the central research question, whether, and if so, under which circumstances legal limits can be imposed on the extent to which a government may require its legal subordinates (taxpayers and third parties) to incur compliance costs whilst complying with tax compliance obligations.

The research departs from the observation that the application of tax law is accompanied by a broad spectrum of administrative obligations imposed on taxpayers or third parties. These obligations are very diverse in nature, and have varying finalities. In recent years, the number of obligations has increased exponentially. This proliferation is due to, among other things, the complexity of the often changing tax legislation, the layered competences within the fragmented Belgian state structure and the (internationally and European drive) fight against tax avoidance and evasion mechanisms. All these obligations entail costs for legal subordinates: compliance costs. They are often perceived as unfair, due to e.g. the double use of similar obligations, the lack of clarity in their application and the idea that certain obligations form a “deflection” of governmental task. Excessive and disproportional compliance costs reduce competitiveness and economic growth, and in the worst case may keep new enterprises out of the market, or de facto forcing existing companies to leave the market. 

The research aims to formulate, from a legal perspective, the limits governments should observe when requiring legal subordinates to incur such compliance costs