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Endangering the survival of the media through the imaginary collection of tax arrears

As reported by Internet portal Southern News from Nis, the Ministry of Finance has initiated the procedure of forced debt recovery for alleged tax liabilities, which threatens the survival of this media.

The alleged tax liability is based on the interpretation of the Tax Administration that the job of the editor in chief in media include public relations and that, regardless of the fact that Predrag Blagojevic, registered as editor of this media, was not employed with the founder of Southern News, there is the obligation to pay taxes and contributions because “the law does not allow factual work”.

In doing this, the Tax Administrations invoked Article 32 of the Labor Act, according to which it is “considered that the employee has employment contract for an indefinite period on the day of commencement of work”. The arguments for determining the alleged tax debt are multiple wrong. First, because no law stipulated the obligation of the media to have a working relationship with the editor-in-chief with full or part-time work.

Second, Tax Administration identified what are the jobs of editor-in-chief on the basis of the catalog of jobs in public services and other organizations in the public sector, which obviously do not apply to private media. The third reason is that the Tax Administration, absurdly, concludes that Blagojevic actually worked on a formal basis solely on a formal element – that he was enlisted as Editor-in-Chief of the Registry, despite the fact that in the decision concluded that in fact these jobs were done by his deputy.

Such rough errors in the interpretation of regulations and logical conclusion, as well as the previous long-term control of this media that has critical attitude towards government, cannot be considered accidental, but are part of the pressure on the media.

Long term solutions should be sought in the new media strategy, changes in the law, and the greater publicity of the work and the responsibility of inspections for their work. In the concrete case, in addition to a faster court judgment that would protect the financial interests of Southern News and their readers, it is also necessary to initiate a procedure for examining the responsibility of the TA officials and managers who led to the emergence of this problem.