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Finance Ministry: dog tax provision will not be clearer

The Ministry of Finance has negatively responded to the HFHR’s petition regarding the adoption of a more comprehensible version of a provision of the Local Taxes and Charges Act, which establishes an exemption from the dog tax for persons aged 65 or more who “independently” run a household.

In the petition, the HFHR argued that some local tax authorities refused to apply this exemption to couples aged 65 or more, interpreting the term “independently” as a synonym of “single-handedly”. This interpretation was rejected by administrative courts performing the judicial review of decisions of tax authorities. Notwithstanding the above, some municipalities continued to invoke the Act’s provisions as justification for denials of exemptions.

The HFHR has called for amending the provision in question in a way that would clearly define that an exemption from dog tax is available for persons aged 65 or more who independently run a household, irrespectively of whether such a person is single or in a relationship with another person.

The Ministry justified its refusal to amend the provision by referring to a long-standing concept developed by the tax law scholarship and jurisprudence, according to which provisions that govern tax credits or exemptions should be interpreted strictly, as exemptions from the rule that taxes are universally applicable. This concept was subsequently applied to the interpretation of the said provision. Referring to the dictionary meaning of the word “independently”, the Ministry decided that the exemption is available only for single persons running a household, and not for persons living with a partner.

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