The audit revealed that it takes a long time for complaints regarding value added tax and investment tax to be processed. The Office of the Auditor General finds that it is important that the people and entities that are liable to these taxes can expect that complaints will be processed quickly and efficiently, because prolonged processing time will entail a period of considerable uncertainty for the tax payer.
The purpose of this audit was to ascertain processing time for complaints and find possible reasons why processing takes so long. The audit was delimited to processing time for cases appealing decisions regarding value added tax and investment tax that were decided in 1998 and 1999.
The audit demonstrated that the average total processing time for complaints decided by the Board of Appeal, and in some cases reversed by the Directorate of Taxes, was 21.6 months in 1998 and 19 months in 1999. A considerable part of the processing time in the Directorate of Taxes is a result of the cases being left lying for a long time before processing begins. The audit also found considerable variation in the time needed to process complaints between the various different county tax offices.
In the opinion of the Office of the Auditor General, processing time for complaints is still long, despite the fact that reducing processing time has been an important priority for the authorities for several years. This is not satisfactory.
The Ministry of Finance agrees that the results of the investigation of processing time for complaints regarding value added tax and investment tax are not satisfactory, and that it is unfortunate that there is variation in processing time between the county tax offices. The Ministry is going to implement measures and expects that improvements in the routines for preparation and documentation of the cases in the county tax offices will reduce processing time.
This report is available in Norwegian on the Office of the Auditor General’s website – www.riksrevisjonen.no – or can be ordered from the University bookshop Akademika, tel. +47 22 11 67 70.