The New Tax Appellate Tribunal

The new Tax Appellate Tribunal Law (TATL) has been passed in Myanmar on 1 August 2018. A new tax appellate tribunal will be formed under the TATL as an independent statutory body. The tribunal will hear and inspect cases relating to the various kinds of taxes collected by relevant government organisations.

The tribunal will be formed with a minimum of 5 members and a maximum of 9 members including the chair. The chair of the tribunal, who will be assigned by the government under TATL, will then form a bench consisting of three members including himself/herself.

The tribunal has now become an independent statutory entity with its powers and role clearly defined under the TATL. The members of the tribunal will also be selected from professionals or persons with more than ten years’ experience in law, tax, accounting or auditing.

Implications for Taxpayers

This creates a clearer and more efficient process for taxpayers to deal with tax related decisions made by relevant government authorities. Anyone can file a matter in the new tribunal by submitting an application in the prescribed form by himself/herself or by a legal representative. The tribunal can hear an appeal, a revision or a review as follows:

  • An appeal can be filed when a party is dissatisfied with an order made by the department responsible to collect tax or an order made by the tax department or final decision made by a government department or organisation assigned with such duty from to time;
  • A revision means the application filed by an aggrieved party for re-assessment and revision of the facts of the matter in relation to an order made by the tribunal; and
  • A review application is an application made for a review of a decision made by the tribunal.

The decision of the tribunal will be made by majority vote of the bench including the vote of the chair or the chief member of the bench. The conclusive decision ratified and signed by the chair and the members will be made public. If a party wishes to obtain a copy of the decision made by the tribunal before being made public, he or she can apply to the director general, and the director general may allow the application in accordance with the provisions of the rules relating to copying of case files.

Conclusion

As the tax laws develop in Myanmar, the government has taken a right step in establishing an independent tribunal with members from legal and tax background to deal specifically with tax law related matters. As the tribunal is created by statute, this gives the tribunal a firmer existence and this should improve confidence among taxpayers in dealing with tax disputes. The transparency added to the decision making process will also help the laws and decisions made by tribunal to become more consistent.

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