Ruling of the Constitutional Court of  3 July 2014 № 1555-О on the refusal to admit to consideration the petition of the LLC “Vozrozhdenie” against the violation of its constitutional rights  and freedoms by a provision of paragraph  1 of Article 391 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation

Legal issue: the cоnstitutionality of the rule which does not allow, in case of equating the cadastre value of land with its market value for tax purposes, to extend the resultant market assessment of land to previous tax periods.

Ratio decidendi:  in the opinion of the Court, even though the market price is determined with respect to specific land plots, which implies more precision as compared to mass cadastre assessment, the contested rule does not deprive the taxpayer of the right to determine the cadastre value of the land in the amount equal to its market value, and also of the right to challenge the dubious results of cadastre assessment or mistakes in the cadastre information. Having deemed the petition to be inadmissible, because it essentially seeks reviewing of court decisions delivered as regards the applicant, the Court pointed out, however, that the possibility of perfection of legislative regulation of State cadastre assessment based on market value of land is not to be excluded (a mild form of inviting the legislator to intervene).

Dissenting opinion:
  • In his concurrent opinion the Judge pointed out that the evaluative methods in question are relative and conventional, and the substitution of one conventional evaluation with another one, presumptively more precise, does not necessarily mean that the former (the State cadastre assessment), is  wrong, unjust (is set too high or too low) and thus entails an unlawful determination of tax  base with ungrounded increase of tax obligations. Besides, the case law of the Supreme Commercial Court permits calculating land tax in accordance with a newly determined cadastre value from the very moment of a change in the form of permissible use of land plot, not awaiting the following tax period. The applicant is not deprived of the right to correct or review the cadastre value of the land plot as of the date when it has been determined in the way that violated his rights, but uncertainties as to the circumstances of the applicant’s court cases do not allow to  be sure that the application of the contested provisions has indeed entailed the violation of his rights in the sense he  put it in the application. 

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Subject area:
Civil Law land
Economic activities, finances taxes & dues