Notes on the salient features of tax liens under Ethiopian law

Author:Kinfe Micheal Yilma
Position:Lecturer, Hawassa University School of Law, LLB (Addis Ababa University), LLM (University of Oslo)
Pages:154-164
 
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154
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/mlr.v7i1.9
NOTES ON THE SALIENT FEATURES OF TAX LIENS
UNDER ETHIOPIAN LAW
Kinfe Micheal Yilma
Introduction
“Tax Liens are not ordinary liens they are liens of a sovereignty, and
a sovereignty can do no wrong” (Bernard Wolson)
Tax systems are continuously changing as countries align their tax systems with
evolving economic, political, and administrative conditions.1 Ethiopia has also
pursued this track of tax reform following the shift in the economic policy of the
government. Since 2002, The Ethiopian tax reform has brought about significant
changes to the enforcement aspect of the tax system. The reform includes
introducing tax lien into the Ethiopian tax law regime. Tax lien is literarily a
scheme of charging the asset of delinquent taxpayers until the tax already due is
paid.2
Although one can say little about tax liens under the Ethiopian tax law
regime and the practice, the concept is recognized with its own features. The
introduction of tax liens has lifted the tax authority from an ordinary creditor to
a secured lien holder or creditor. This, coupled with the power in tax
foreclosures,3 was a clear departure in the realm of tax enforcement under
Ethiopian law.
Lecturer, Hawassa University School of Law, LLB (Addis Ababa University), LLM
(University of Oslo).
1 John Norregaard and Tehmina Khan (2007),Tax Policy: Recent Trends and Coming
Challenges’, IMF Working Paper, WP/07/274, p. 3; available online at
<http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1116187> (Accessed on May 21,
2013).
2 Delinquent taxes are taxes already due but not yet paid by the taxpayer; the defaulting
taxpayer is referred to as a delinquent taxpayer.
3 Tax foreclosure is a unilateral tax enforcement mechanism by which tax authorities
enforce delinquent taxes without direct judicial involvement by seizing and selling
delinquent taxpayers property. See, Kinfe Micheal, “An Introduction to the Ethiopian
Law of Tax Foreclosure: A Commentary”, Abyssinia Law, at 9, available at
<http://www.abyssinialaw.com/uploads/The_Ethiopian_Tax_Foreclosure_Regime__3_.pdf>;
N

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