Two Low Blows

New laws in Slovakia are passed like hotcakes and changed more frequently than socks, which creates a chaotic and unpredictable framework for citizens and entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs and their organisations have been complaining about this for years. Criticism, which not only pointed out the apparent problems, but offered solutions, has been voiced many times. All for nothing.

This autumn brought two shocking examples of crucial changes to the legislative, intentionally presented in a manner which in one case deliberately limited, and in the other absolutely eliminated, public discussion. The sinner in this case is the Ministry of Finance – the one ministry capable of doing the greatest damage to entrepreneurs, which is why more stringent criteria should be applied to it.

First, the tax licence came like a bolt from the blue. Without previous consultation, the social partners first found out about it in the tripartite negotiations. It is clear that the Ministry of Finance will sometimes take action without consent from the entrepreneurs. But the consultations in this case are justified because they can help “polish” the proposal. A solution can be found which still satisfies the promoter of the law, but isn’t so negative for the economy. But consultations only make sense when they take months; not days or hours, which is what probably every ministry in Slovakia dreams about.

The dust has not even settled yet on the tax licences, and here comes another low blow from the Ministry of Finance. Surely, a discussion about depreciation is legitimate. But unfortunately for the public, a mini revolution in the depreciation method, which will, of course, have a negative impact on many an entrepreneur, is being passed through the parliamentary back door. In spite of the commenting process being the basic responsibility of every ministry, the Ministry of Finance simply decided to skip it. I only hope that they will at least admit this and will not resort to stories about „parliamentary initiative.”

Next year, when they are looking for a culprit in the case of unsatisfactory tax revenues, they should first look into a mirror. “Turbo-amendments“ to tax laws, made behind the backs of the public, not only raise legitimate outrage, but lower the willingness to do business, employ, invest and pay taxes in this country.

Translated by Jakub Jablonicky

Jan Oravec