2011 | 3(51) | 180-195
Article title

THE STANDARD NATURE OF THE TAXMAN-TAXPAYER RELATIONSHIP AS A PREREQUISITE FOR TAX SYSTEM EFFICIENCY (Normatywny charakter relacji podatnik - organ podatkowy jako przeslanka efektywnosci funkcjonowania systemu podatkowego)

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The obligation to pay tax can be viewed in two different ways. According to J. Buchanan, it is a kind of contribution imposed by an omnipotent state, an expression of the state's authority. Thus for the taxpayer it is a compulsory, enforced payment, whose designation is beyond his or her control. The only way to increase the efficiency of a tax system, i.e. to minimise the cost of tax collection given fixed budgetary revenue, is then to ensure full transparency of statio fisci procedures. R. Musgrave understands tax differently. For him, it is a collective levy incurred in order to subsidise public tasks determined by public consensus. Therefore, tax is not an extraneous, imposed duty. The awareness of the obligation stems from the consent (if only presumed) of the taxpayers to bear the cost. In the Polish system, the prevalent method is to introduce new taxes by virtue of the law. The character of the legislative procedures and the highly formalised relationship between the taxman and the taxpayers result in low public acceptance of tax obligations. In consequence, taxes are treated by Poles as the external compulsion from J. Buchanan's theory rather than the collective contribution described by R. Musgrave. This is particularly observable in the individual stages of tax legislation development, where the competences of both sides of the 'tax fence' (state and taxpayers) are limited to the bare minimum. Consequently, statutory provisions, which are frequently incoherent, have to be the decisive factor. This leads to more dispute and controversy and thus to increased tax compliance costs.
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  • Dr Krzysztof Biernacki, Wydzial Nauk Ekonomicznych Uniwersytetu Ekonomicznego we Wroclawiu
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