The report of the State Council Commissioners Authority was issued in Case No. 58718 of the judiciary year 75, which was filed by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, against the head of the Bar, the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Finance in their capacity, regarding value-added tax, which recommended that the case be transferred to the Constitutional Court.
The current head of the Bar was in his capacity as having signed a protocol in cooperation with the Ministries of Finance and Justice regarding the collection and remittance of the schedule tax established by the Value Added Law, without obtaining the approval of the General Assembly of Lawyers.
The protocol announced by the head of Bar on his personal page, and via the union’s social media page, guarantees the collection of the State Treasury’s VAT benefits, and requires professional and consulting service providers to register with the Egyptian Tax Service for “value added” regardless of the amount oftheir transactions, including lawyers.
Article 1 of the Protocol authorizes the Minister of Finance and his delegate to determine the procedural provisions and rules necessary for the application of the provisions of this Act in accordance with the nature of the activity of some registrars.
As a result, lawyers of different incomes, notwithstanding of the value of their dealings, were required to register with the IRS and submit a monthly declaration, whereas only lawyers with transactions exceeding 500,000 L.E. per year had previously been registered.
The Centre’s attorneys filed the case on September 16, 2020, demanding that the appeal be granted in form, and urgently to suspend the implementation of the above-mentioned Protocol, with its implications,notably the continuation of the old protocol between the former head of Bar and the Under-Secretary of State for Finance, dated March 29, 2017.
The decision to sign without reference to the General Assembly of the Bar Association, with its consequences, and to require the defendants to pay for the lawyer’s fees, should be null and void because it violates the provisions of the law.
The Court referred the case to the Board of State Commissioners, whose report recommended that the case be discontinued, referring it in its case to the Supreme Constitutional Court to determine the constitutionality of the term “professional and advisory services” in the Value Added Tax Act, and whether it involved the legal profession, while postponing expenses.
The case and the report issued by the State of Commissioners are scheduled to be decided at the next 10 April.
The Egyptian Centre recalls the importance of facilitating the process of litigation in order to reach a justice facility for all citizens, which requires that the exertion of the community of lawyers be facilitated and that the material and moral burden placed on them be relieved aiming at applying the rule of law.