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Temur Chkonia: The Tax System in Georgia is Communistic

An interview with Temur Chkonia, the founder  of “Coca-Cola – Bottlers Georgia”

How do you assess the work of the tax system in the country? Whether the reproaches about frequent cases of business inspections are grounded?

The problem is not in the frequency of inspections. When the state says it must cut costs, simplify bureaucratic procedures, etc., the tax office should be involved in this process. The Ministry of Finance has to contribute to the creation of private audit firms, in order to reduce the costs and the loss of time. These companies should be under constant supervision.

Except for business checking, auditors also give advice on how to avoid unnecessary fines by the state.

To date, in spite of the new technologies, the tax system is as ugly as in Soviet times. It’s just awful – a company’s  audit  lasts for 6-7 months. It is unclear why this takes so much time. Businessmen prefer not to talk too much about it.

This approach is fundamentally wrong – private companies should work quietly to have the ability to create new jobs and to introduce new business culture in the country.

Private companies were included in the Alternative Audit program and were able to choose between private auditors and the state. In your opinion, such a choice is not necessary, and all checks must be operated by private companies?

There’s a trust factor – whom the state has more trust in – private auditors or their employees? Currently, the state does not so trust citizens, as it should. This is communist mentality – a private person cannot be decent and public-minded.

At the same time, the state certainly trusts its employees, which in this case may be less public-minded.

In my opinion, private audit companies, which will be entrusted to inspect business,  should be accredited and the accreditation process should be quite complex. As a result, the one who will receive accreditation will care about his reputation, and a new, more reasonable system will be formed.

In your opinion,  why does the audit  last for  6-7 months? Doesn’t the state has resources to do  it faster?

During the first 3 months the company is studied, in the remained three months – it is checked. This is a real problem, I cannot imagine that I could pay the salary to employees who are engaged in only one company for six months. This has happened in the Soviet times, when checking in enterprises and organizations delayed, and auditors actually lived there for six months.

Today, the system is almost similar to that model, and until the communist mentality is not eradicated, nothing will happen. Government and business need to trust each other. We must get rid of unnecessary costs, people should be free in their thoughts and actions.