The FINANCIAL — ICC Georgia had endorsed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili during its 11th Consultative Board meeting; Prime Minister Kvirikashvili had presented to ICC Board Members the headlines of his upcoming block of reforms to encourage private sector development.
ICC Georgia had expressed its confidence that Prime Minister Kvirikashvili was committed about tackling in the shortest terms the major hurdles that are damaging the investment climate in the country and mainly the relation between the Revenue Service and the business community.
ICC Georgia is expressing today its deep concern regarding the proposed draft amending the Tax Code, according to which the freezing of bank accounts without court Order for recognized taxes shall stay in force and the Revenue Service still reserves the right to freeze bank accounts for recognized and also unrecognized/disputable taxes if there is a risk of non-payment of such taxes and only after 48 hours the RS will have to apply to the Court and request confirmation of already frozen accounts.
ICC Georgia believes that this initiative is not serious at all and does not address the practice of arbitrary freezing taxpayers bank accounts and still represents a very serious impediment to business and investment in the country. Tax Administration and the behaviour of the Revenue Service are for ICC members and by far the number one drawback to their businesses and unquestionably the number one issue to be addressed to improve the investment climate.
“Over the past twenty years, Georgia has gained a terrible reputation as a place to do business mainly because of the Revenue Service; as long as the bank accounts of businesses are frozen, as long as the Revenue Service over-penalize them and drag them into years of dispute and litigation the investment climate in Georgia will remain unappealing to both Georgian businesses and foreign investors alike. We still don’t feel a real political will to improve the business climate, we are extremely disappointed with the draft law regarding freezing of bank accounts, we haven’t seen anything in the draft law that solves the issue of freezing of assets or limiting the audit period or sanctioning inspectors who over-penalize taxpayers; if those issues are not addressed immediately, the investment climate will remain unattractive and we will find it very difficult to encourage any foreign investor to set foot in Georgia” said ICC-Georgia Chairman, Fady Asly.
ICC Georgia is the largest and most vocal global Business Association in the country; it includes over 350 corporate and youth members and 28 business associations. The International Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in the world that includes over 6.5 million businesses and chambers of commerce. ICC consults regularly at the global level with the G8, G20, the World Bank, WTO, WCO and the UN.