The Concept of Preventive Actions Securing the Enforcement of Tax Liability to be Determined in the Future: Prosperity under the Principle of Prevention in Tax Law

Author:Kaido Künnapas

The article analyses preventive measures employed by tax authorities to secure payment of taxes. The development in this field reflects general trends in public law, which now is aimed at prevention of threat (in this case, the loss of tax revenue in consequence of taxpayer acts) instead of fighting the consequences of it. The author compares summary assessment models regulated in the United... (see full summary)

Kaido Künnapas
Doctoral student
University of Tartu
The Concept of Preventive
Actions Securing
the Enforcement of Tax Liability
to be Determined in the Future:
Prosperity under the Principle of Prevention in Tax Law
1. Introduction
Public law has taken a direction toward prevention of threat instead of ghting the consequences of it. The
importance of the principle of prevention is recognised and accepted in many branches of public law, such
as environmental law*1 and law-enforcement law*2, re ecting the general tendencies in this regulative area.
The same has emerged in material and procedural tax law with regard to prevention of tax evasion.*3 One
form of such measures is used for accelerated assessment and enforcement of tax liability that is going to be
determined in the future. Namely, when taxpayers face tax assessment procedure, possible tax liability may
drive them to hide their assets or, at least, to become apathetic toward the well-being of their business. This
can be a consequence of mala de or bona de acts, just as it can be of wilful or negligent acts. No matter the
intentions, compulsory execution of tax liability may, in consequence, become considerably more dif cult or
even impossible. For prevention of such situations with negative value output, the right to secure or enforce
payment of potential tax liability before doing so may be possible under customary procedure may be granted
1 N. de Sadeleer. Environmental Principles: From Political Slogans to Legal Rules. Oxford University Press 2002, p. 68 DOI: . In discussion of the principle of prevention, it becomes
necessary to distinguish between the principle of prevention and the principle of precaution. The principle of prevention
deals with threats known in consequence of scienti c evidence, while the principle of precaution has to do with hypothetical
risks. See also E. Rehbinder. The Precautionary Principle in an Environmental Perspective. Miljorettens grundsporgsmal
1994, p. 92, referred to in H. Veinla. Ettevaatusprintsiip keskkonnaõiguses (The Principle of Precaution in Environmental
Law). Tartu Ülikooli kirjastus 2004, p. 25 (in Estonian). This article discusses measures used for implementing the principle
of prevention.
2 M. Laaring. Estonian Law-enforcement Law as Danger-prevention Law. – Juridica International 20 (2013), p. 197.
3 In the EU, the main focus is on prevention of tax evasion through material tax law and cross-border co-operation. For fur-
ther information, see the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council concerning an
Action Plan to strengthen the ght against tax fraud and tax evasion. COM(2012)722 nal. Available at http://ec.europa.
eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/taxation/tax_fraud_evasion/com_2012_722_en.pdf (most recently accessed
on 27.2.2015).

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