WHY VAVEK ?
The governments are formed to meet the common interests of their citizens. “The raison d’être” of the state are therefore its citizens.Governments can only perform their duties through public spending. The soundest way of meeting the public spending is the taxation.
The Article 13 of “1791 French Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizens “ sets forth that “it is imperative that each and every citizen should pay taxes to meet the government expenses and to provide the sustainability of the power of the state”. Same article also stipulates that “the tax burden should be equally distributed among the citizens respecting their ability to pay.” Article 14th of the same Declaration also rules that “All citizens, in person or through their representatives possess the rights to determine the essentiality of the taxes, to accept freely the taxation, to oversight how the tax money is spent.” According to the same article, citizens have also right to specify the quantity and the base of taxes as well as decide on modalities and duration of accrual of the taxes.
On the other hand Article 73 of Turkish Constitution predicates the following:
Obligation to pay Taxes ARTICLE 73 – Everyone is under the obligation to pay taxes according to his financial resources, in order to meet public expenditures. An equitable and balanced distribution of the tax burden is the social objective of fiscal policy. Taxes, fees, duties, and other such financial obligations shall be imposed, amended, or revoked by law. The Council of Ministers may be empowered to amend the percentages of exemption, exceptions and reductions in taxes, fees, duties and other such financial impositions, within the minimum and maximum limits prescribed by law.
Besides, Article 161 of the Constitution states that spending of the state and the other public entities have to be executed under the framework of annual budgets. So, budget itself is a permission granted to the executive, by the Parliament who approves where to spend and how much. In other words this is known as “power of the purse” which implies the influence that legislatures have over public policy because of their power to vote money for public purposes.
After the expenditures have been executed, Parliament examines the “Final Accounts Bill” drafted by the Government to scrutinize if the expenses are done in line with the limits set by the Parliament at the beginning of the fiscal year in question. Approval of the Final Accounts Bill by the Parliament indicates the acquittal of the expenditures realized by the government. The compliance audit of government expenditures is performed by the Turkish Court of Accounts acting on behalf of the Parliament. To enable the Parliament to exonerate the Government of the ending year expenditure transactions, Turkish Courts of Accounts should issue a “Statement of Conformity”.
However, it is pity to say that Turkish Court of Accounts are currently unable to carry out its auditing duties and even inform the Parliament that they cannot present necessary financial report on various grounds. Nevertheless, Final Accounts Bill is debated and approved by the Parliament.
In simplest term, we as the tax paying citizens, pay those taxes to benefit from the public services. Hence we have two most natural rights;
- To demand that the taxes should be low and fair
- To expect that the taxes we pay are spent in wise full and efficient way.
Unfortunately, the Parliament as being our representative is unable to insure that the taxes are low and just.
Also, unfortunate that the Parliament is not able to audit where our taxes are spent and how.
If the government wants to collect taxes, it has to justify the necessity of them. For this reason, taxes should not be used to finance corruption, and they should be spent for the most appropriate purposes in most productive fashion. Today, on the other hand the corruption is on increase more than experienced in the past. Let alone the government being held accountable for their actions, The Court of Accounts is prevented from doing proper audit. The ministers suspected of corruption are acquitted by the Parliament without being lawfully trialed by the courts.
It is now clear that neither the Parliament nor the internal audit system of the Government is capable of protecting the rights of the tax payers. For this very reason, civil society as being essential part of democracies needs to be very active and watchful.
Questioning Citizens ………
We are transferring billions of liras to the Government to fulfill our tax obligations. All very well but;
- Do we know sufficiently how and where our tax money is spent?
- Can we develop pressure groups not to allow new unfair taxes or remove the already imposed ones of similar nature?
- Do we exert pressure on governments not to expend our taxes on wasteful, luxurious areas and investments or not to finance corruption?
Not to forget that,
- Each “penny (kuruş)” that the government spent is our taxes.
- Every penny unwisely spent means waste of our taxes.
- Corruption is steal of our money
- Every penny directed to corruption is stolen from our pockets.
Just for these very basic facts, VAVEK has been established to come together to raise and make our voice be heard by everybody including governments.
What does VAVEK calls for?
- Government should make the public finances transparent and regularly publish aggregate and detailed information about revenue and expenditures.
- It should be explained where, how and for whom social security premiums are spent.
- All extra budgetarysources should be merged under the general budget system and information should be provided how and where off budget sources are used.
- Deposit Insurance Fund should regularly explain how its resources are used and which purposes the sources are allocated.
- Information about the amount of taxes waived and their beneficiaries due to tax exemptions should be reported.
- Information about tax incentives by regions and economic sectors should be given and public should be periodically informed to what extent such incentives reached to their objectives.
- Cost of public employees should be explored and public should be informed.
- The results of the tax disputes including court judgement on the verdicts should be announced to the public.
- In case Tax Courts rules a verdict in favor of tax payers, Tax Administration should comply with the verdict and not insist on practices contrary to such rulings.
- Tax Amnesties should not be practiced.
- There should be no usage of public land by issuing zoning amnesties or land allocations as means of favors in elections.
- Duty Losses incurred by the public banks should be regularly made public with explanations about their causes and fiscal consequences.
- Public should be informed about the services, expenditures of all public entities which receive funding from tax revenues and disputes among such entities .
- TRT-Turkish Radio and Television Corporation should be enabled financially self-sufficient and citizens should not be obliged to finance this corporation by paying quasi tax monies.
- More effective fight against bribery and corruption which are means of illegal income transfer should be pursued and corruption prone elements within the government should be eliminated
- It should be banned to acquit corruption cases through political decisions and those responsible for corrupt activities notwithstanding their political personalities should be put in trial.
- All public procurement of goods and services should be transparent and regularly reported to the public.
- All public expenditures previously excluded from Public Procurement Law should be taken under the coverage of the said Law.
- Turkish Court of Accounts should be enabled to become more effective and to execute efficiency and effectiveness audit. Public should be informed about the results of such audits.
- Public administration and especially financial management should be transparent. Public administration should be equipped with necessary means to provide effective public services.
- Public authorities should take into consideration the suggestions from NGOs who are becoming increasingly strong.
- Recruitments to the civil service should be based on merit and be made subject to clear and objective principles.
- Impartiality of the judiciary must be insured, politically motivated recruitment of members of judiciary must not be allowed.
Being a citizen in search of his/her rights
In a sense, tax payer is a consumer who purchases and benefits from public services. As tax paying citizens, he/she therefore has the right to ask for high quality public services with the lowest possible costs.
This also calls for the state, as part of its social functions, to meet the basic necessities of its citizens who cannot afford pay taxes ,without any discrimination.
In return, all public entities which collect taxes, receive shares from taxes and spending such taxes should principally provide high quality of public services with the lowest possible costs.
The citizens of contemporary world are those who demand their and rights go after to get them.
Public sector should not have the luxury for wastefulness . Demanding this is the incontestable right of the citizens.
THIS IS BECAUSE, VAVEK IS THE ORGANIZATION APPEALING FOR THOSE WHO ASK FOR
- THE TAXES THEY PAY SHOULD BE JUST
- THE TAXES THEY PAY SHOULD RETURN THEMSELVES IN THE FORM OF QUALITY PUBLIC SERVİCES,
- THE TAXES THEY PAY SHOULD NOT BE WASTED , AND;
- TAXES THEY PAY SHOULD NOT FINANCE THE CORRUPT ACTIVITIES OF THE GOVERNMENTS
VAVEK IS THEREFORE IS A CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATION FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO CONSOLIDATE THEIR STRENGHTS TO TRANSFORM SUCH ASPIRATIONS INTO POWERFUL ACTS