Slovak textile import firm ap…

Slovak textile import firm appeals VAT fines because of vendor lock-in


Eura Slovakia, a textile importer based in the city of Zvolen is filing appeal against twelve monthly fines totalling 5600 euro for its late filing of VAT statements. The firm argues that the country's Tax Office is discriminating companies that are not using one proprietary vendor's operating system and web browser. The government acknowledges its VAT web application is not conform the country's rules on standards.

Gabriela Dianová, spokeswoman for the Financial Directorate, is quoted by the Slovak news site HN Online, explaining that a 2010 change in the law forbids paper based VAT declarations. "The law does not leave us that option."

The textile importer is taking the Tax authority to court in early June.

The import firm is getting assistance in its legal protest from the Free Software Foundation Europe. According to the advocacy group there are more companies that struggle with the online reporting of VAT. "Eura Sloviakia is the only one that refuses to give in. It will not buy licences for the proprietary platform", says the FSFE's Martin Husovec.

He adds that he authorities the past two years also ignored all complaints, saying that the application would eventually be made platform-independent. A new tax application was made available earlier this year. It is written in Java and runs on multiple operating systems including Linux. For the VAT, companies are still referred to the older tool. "It shows that the government does not take the issue very seriously. They ignore their responsibility."

The FSFE argues that the VAT application is breaking the country's Decree on Standards. Husovec, in a statement published on Wednesday, called the situation 'absurd'. "How many different software products must citizens and companies buy simply to comply with the law?"

The advocacy group says governments should not promote any computing platform system. "It hurts the competition, increases costs for small companies and leads to social injustice."

More information:
FSFE press release
HN Online news item (in Slovak)

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