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On returning stamp duty

Case No. 34/01

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE PETITION OF THE PANEVĖŽYS REGIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE COURT REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE COMPLIANCE OF NORMS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON LEVIES WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA AS WELL AS THE COMPLIANCE OF PROVISIONS OF THE RESOLUTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 1458) “ON THE CONFIRMATION OF THE LIST OF OBJECTS OF STATE LEVY AND ITS AMOUNTS AS WELL AS THE PROCEDURE FOR ITS PAYMENT AND RETURNING” OF 15 DECEMBER 2000 WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA AND LAWS

 

6 May 2003

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Egidijus Jarašiūnas, Egidijus Kūris, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Augustinas Normantas, Jonas Prapiestis, Vytautas Sinkevičius, and Stasys Stačiokas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Vilija Račkauskienė, chief specialist of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, acting as the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, a party concerned, and Finance Vice-minister Vitas Vasiliauskas, acting as the representative of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, a party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Paragraph 1 of Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 10 April 2003, in its public hearing, considered case No. 34/01 subsequent to the petition of the Panevėžys Regional Administrative Court requesting an investigation into whether

1) Article 10 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Levies to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania;

2) Article 18 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Levies to the extent holding the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Stamp Duty as no longer valid, however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania;

3) the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 to the extent holding the 11 November 1994 resolution (No. 1123) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (with subsequent amendments and supplements) as no longer valid, however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 4 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Enterprises;

4) Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by the 15 December 2000 resolution (No. 1458) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 4 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Enterprises.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The Panevėžys Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, was considering an administrative case. By its ruling, the said court suspended the consideration of the case and applied to the Constitutional Court with the petition requesting an investigation into whether

1) Article 10 of the Law on Levies to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution;

2) Article 18 of the Law on Levies to the extent holding the Law on Stamp Duty as no longer valid, however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution;

3) the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 to the extent holding government resolution No. 1123 of 11 November 1994 (with subsequent amendments and supplements), however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, Article 4 of the Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises;

4) Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by government resolution No. 1458 of 15 December 2000 to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, Article 4 of the Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises.

II

The petition of the petitioner is grounded on the following arguments.

1. Until 31 December 2000, the amount, payment and returning of the stamp duty for the issuance of licences for trading in alcoholic beverages were regulated by the Law on Stamp Duty and the 11 November 1994 resolution (No. 1123) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (with subsequent amendments and supplements). Under Item 17.1 of the Rates of Stamp Duty (wording of 3 July 2000) as confirmed through the said resolution, for issuance and renewal of the licence for retail trading in all kinds of alcoholic beverages in the city of Panevėžys one would have to pay the duty of LTL 30,000. On 1 January 2001 the Law on Levies went into effect which recognised the Law on Stamp Duty as no longer valid. One provided for the levy of LTL 800 by Item 8.5 of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as confirmed by government resolution of No. 1458 of 15 December 2000 which implements the provisions of the Law on Levies. Neither the Law on Levies nor the government resolution provides for an opportunity to return or otherwise compensate the excessively big stamp duty paid before. The said acts indicate the final list of cases when the levy is returned.

2. Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution provides that all persons shall be equal before the law, the court, and other State institutions and officials. In the opinion of the petitioner, after the Law on Levies and the government resolution covering the former had gone in effect, the economic entities trading in alcoholic beverages were placed in different situations: the entities which acquired or renewed licences for trade in alcohol prior to the entry into effect of the Law on Levies became discriminated.

3. Paragraph 1 of Article 46 of the Constitution provides that Lithuania’s economy shall be based on the right of private ownership and individual freedom of economic activity and initiative. Paragraph 4 of the same article provides that the law shall prohibit monopolisation of production and the market and shall protect freedom of fair competition. The petitioner asserts that danger may also arise to fair competition when the entities which operate in the same market, in the same sector, and at the same time pay considerably different contributions for the same municipal service.

4. Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises do not permit the state bodies to regulate, by means of administrative methods, economic activities of enterprises and they declare the same legal and economic conditions for all enterprises. In the opinion of the petitioner, issuance of the licence is one of the conditions of economic regulation, therefore, when certain enterprises pay LTL 30,000 for issuance or renewal of the licence, while others pay LTL 800, there appear unequal conditions of economic activities.

5. Article 4 of the Law on Competition provides that institutions of state administration and self-government must ensure freedom of fair competition. Institutions of state administration and self-government shall be prohibited from adopting legal acts or other decisions which grant privileges to or discriminate against any individual economic entities or their groups and which bring about or may bring about differences in the conditions of competition for competitors in the relevant market. The petitioner maintains that the Government established rates of the levy are considerably less than previously valid rates of the stamp duty, also, one did not provide for an opportunity to return part of the paid stamp duty, therefore, such legal regulation might impose limitations on fair competition.

III

1. In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing, written explanations were received from the representative of the Seimas, a party concerned, who was O. Buišienė, and written explanations from the representative of the Government, a party concerned, who was V. Vasiliauskas, Vice-minister of Finance. In the course of the preparation of the case a letter was received from the representative of the Seimas V. Račkauskienė, chief specialist of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, wherein she concurs with the opinion set forth by the representative of a party concerned O. Buišienė.

1. O. Buišienė points out that, under Paragraph 3 of Article 19 of the Law on Alcohol Control, retail trade in alcoholic beverages is a type of activity subject to licence. Until the entry into effect of the Law on Levies, the issuance and renewal of this licence (permit) used to be taxed by means of a stamp duty (Item 15 of Paragraph 1 of Article 3 of the Law on Stamp Duty). Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the Law on Levies names the issuance and renewal of this licence (permit) as one of the objects of state levy. The law also establishes the procedure of payment of this levy (Article 9) and cases of its returning (Article 10). Under Items 1 and 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 10 of the Law on Levies, there are two such cases: (1) when one has paid more than the amount of the levy established by the Government; (2) when the services are not rendered. This list is final. O. Buišienė notes that the purpose and nature of the stamp duty and of the levy are the same: it is payment (obligatory contribution) for certain actions performed or services rendered by state institutions. However, the cases and procedure of the returning of these payments is a matter of different laws.

According to O. Buišienė, the provisions of the Law on Levies cannot replace the rights and duties of participants of social relations, which were regulated and established by the previously effective Law on Stamp Duty. The validity of the Law on Stamp Duty expired upon entry into effect of the Law on Levies whose norms regulated the same social relations in a different manner. The Law on Levies does not contain the norm that upon considerable change of the amount of the state levy for issuance of licences for trading in alcoholic beverages, the sum of the previously paid stamp duty is also to be returned. Legal relations arise only on the grounds of the valid law. Therefore, all the economic entities which had paid the stamp duty of the established amount for the actions performed by state institutions and the issued documents (licences) bearing legal power, were granted the right to trade in alcoholic beverages.

According to O. Buišienė, if the Law on Levies provided for the procedure for the returning of stamp duty, this would influence the rights of all participants of the said relations in a negative manner. Besides, there would occur legal effects, which might be favourable to one party of the relation, but unfavourable to the other. Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution establishes equality of all persons, including economic entities, before the law, the court and other state institutions and officials, therefore, in case part of the paid stamp duty is returned to a certain economic entity or group thereof, the rights of other persons engaged in the same economic activity would be violated. This would be in conflict with the constitutional principle of equality of all persons.

O. Buišienė notes that the Government, while executing the obligation by the Seimas to establish the procedure of the returning of the state levy, adopted the Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” on 15 December 2000. This resolution, as a substatutory legal act, was adopted on the basis of the Law on Levies and it particularises corresponding norms of the law. The Government cannot change the law or create legal norms of a new character, which, by their power, would compete with the norms of the law. In the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed through the said resolution, the procedure, terms and conditions of the returning of the state levy was specified and particularised: it does not regulate any norms, which are not contained in the Law on Levies, i.e. returning or compensation of the paid stamp duty.

The economic entities which wished to trade in alcoholic beverages and which met the requirements raised by the Law on Levies were permitted to engage in the said activities after they had paid the payment for issuance of the licence. The state granted such a right to them. The duty of the state is to issue documents bearing legal power, while the duty of the economic entity is to pay the payment of established amount for the issuance of such documents and conform to the requirements set down in the licence. Therefore, according to O. Buišienė, there are no grounds to assert that Article 10 of the Law on Levies is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of 46 of the Constitution.

The right to engage in the activities subject to licence means that it is permitted to carry out only the activity and under the conditions which are indicated in the licence issued, however, this document does not establish any obligatory economic limitations, therefore, the issuance of this document does not exert direct influence on the result of economic activity, regardless of whether or not the activity is subject to licence. Therefore, in the opinion of the representative of a party concerned, there are no grounds to assert that Article 10 of the Law on Levies is in conflict with Paragraph 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution.

2. V. Vasiliauskas notes that the amount of the state levy, under Article 5 of the Law on Levies, directly depends on the expenses of the issuance of the document or the rendering of the service, therefore, for the issuance or renewal of licences for retail trading in alcoholic beverages, the list of objects of the state levy, as confirmed by the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000, establishes a smaller state levy, if compared with the amounts of the previously valid stamp duty, which had been determined on the grounds of the fiscal criterion.

The representative of a party concerned points out that in their essence the stamp duty and the state levy are different from taxes (regular taxes) as taken in their real meaning, since the former are of a direct payment nature. In its essence, the state levy (stamp duty) is one-off payment for concrete action performed by the state institution or for the issued document bearing legal power. For this action or for the issuance of the document (according to the legal acts regulating the paying of this payment) one had to pay the payment of the amount which was valid at the time of the performance of the action (issuance of the document) and had to be paid prior to the actions performed by the institutions, i.e. prior to the issuance or renewal of licences. Therefore, in the opinion of V. Vasiliauskas, the stamp duty which was paid for issuance or renewal of licences, i.e. for the action performed in 2000, if compared with the amounts of state levies in 2001, is not overpayment and may not be returned.

The representative of a party concerned emphasises that the state levy (stamp duty) is virtually paid on a voluntary basis, i.e. the payer, if he wishes that the state institution render the service to him, pays the state levy (stamp duty) prior to the rendition of the service. However, upon the paying of the payment and performance of the service, the legal relation between the payer and the state institutions is virtually over.

In the opinion of the representative of a party concerned, the fact that in 2001 one had to pay a smaller state levy for the analogous service of the state (municipal) institution cannot serve as the ground for the demand that the paid stamp duty be returned.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing, written explanations were received from A. Butkevičius, Chairperson of the Seimas Committee on Budget and Finance, G. Švedas, Vice-minister of Justice, M. Strumskis, the then Head of the State Taxation Inspectorate under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, R. Stanikūnas, Chairperson of the Competition Council of the Republic of Lithuania, Assoc. Prof. E. Šileikis who works at the Department of Public Law of the Faculty of Law, Vilnius University, and R. Vainienė, Vice-president of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute.

V

At the Constitutional Court hearing, the representative of the Seimas V. Račkauskienė, chief specialist of the Legal Department of the Office of the Seimas, and the representative of the Government V. Vasiliauskas, Vice-minister of Finance, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in their written explanations.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

1. Article 10 of the Law on Levies provides:

1. The paid state levy or part thereof shall be returned in these cases:

1) when one has paid more than the amount of the levy established by the Government;

2) when the services have not been rendered.

2. The State levy shall be returned if the request on its return has been filed with the local administrator of the tax within the time limit established in the Law on Tax Administration.

3. The procedure for the returning of the State levy shall be established by the Government.”

The petitioner requests an investigation into whether Article 10 of the Law on Levies “to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously” is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution.

The formula “to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously” employed in the petition of the petitioner means that the petitioner has doubts as to the compliance of not entire Article 10 of the Law on Levies with the Constitution but as to the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 10 of the said law with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution to the extent that it is provided in Paragraph 1 of Article 10 of the Law on Levies in what cases the state levy is returned, but that it does not provide that the stamp duty paid previously (under the Law on Stamp Duty which was in force prior to the entry into effect of the Law on Levies), which was bigger than a corresponding levy established later, should be returned or otherwise compensated.

2. Article 18 of the Law on Levies provides:

1. This Law shall become effective as of 1 January 2001 save Article 17 hereof.

2. Upon entry into effect of this Law, the following shall become no longer valid:

1) the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Stamp Duty (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1994, No. 51-950, No. 89-1712; 1995, No. 47-1135; 1996, No. 18-462, No. 46-1112, No. 116-2691; 1997, No. 33-810, No. 97-2443; 1998, No. 98-2714);

2) the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Local Levies (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1996, No. 57-1339; 1997, No. 58-1329; 1998, No. 38-998).”

The petitioner requests an investigation into whether Article 18 of the Law on Levies “to the extent holding the Law on Stamp Duty as no longer valid, however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously” is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution.

Thus, the petitioner has doubts whether Article 18 of the Law on Levies to the extent that it holds the Law on Stamp Duty as no longer valid but that it does not provide that the stamp duty paid previously (under the Law on Stamp Duty which was in force prior to the entry into effect of the Law on Levies), which was bigger than a corresponding levy established later, should be returned or otherwise compensated, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution.

3. The petitioner requests an investigation into whether the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 “to the extent holding government resolution No. 1123 of 11 November 1994 (with subsequent amendments and supplements) as no longer valid, however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously” is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, Article 4 of the Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises.

It is clear from government resolution No. 1458 of 15 December 2000 that government resolution No. 1123 of 11 November 1994 as well as the other 86 government resolutions whereby one used to amend and/or supplement government resolution No. 1123 of 11 November 1994 was recognised as no longer valid by Item 3 of government resolution No. 1458 of 15 December 2000.

Thus, the petitioner has doubts whether Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 whereby government resolution No. 1123 of 11 November 1994 as well as the other 86 government resolutions is held as no longer valid by which government resolution No. 1123 of 11 November 1994 used to be amended and/or supplemented and that it does not provide that the stamp duty paid previously (under the Law on Stamp Duty which was in force prior to the entry into effect of the Law on Levies), which was bigger than a corresponding levy established later, should be returned or otherwise compensated, is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, Article 4 of the Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises.

4. Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by government resolution No. 1458 of 15 December 2000 provides: “The state levy shall be returned in the cases established in Article 10 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Levies on the grounds of requests submitted by the payers and certificates of the institutions rendering the services wherein one must indicate the reasons for the returning of the state levy.”

The petitioner requests an investigation into whether Item 6 of the Procedure “to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously” is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, Article 4 of the Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises.

Thus, the petitioner has doubts whether Item 6 of the Procedure to the extent that it provides in what cases the state levy is returned and that that it does not provide that the stamp duty paid previously (under the Law on Stamp Duty which was in force prior to the entry into effect of the Law on Levies), which was bigger than a corresponding levy established later, should be returned or otherwise compensated, is not in conflict Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, Article 4 of the Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises.

5. It is clear from the content of the petition that the petitioner doubts not as to the compliance of the legal regulation established in the said provisions of Articles 10 and 18 of the Law on Levies with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, also, not as to the compliance of the legal regulation established in Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 and Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by the said government resolution with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, Article 4 of the Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises, but as to the fact whether the said provisions of Articles 10 and 18 of the Law on Levies do not provide that the stamp duty paid previously (under the Law on Stamp Duty which was in force prior to the entry into effect of the Law on Levies), which was bigger than a corresponding levy established later, must be returned or otherwise compensated is not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, also, the fact that Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 and Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by the said government resolution do not provide that the stamp duty paid previously (under the Law on Stamp Duty which was in force prior to the entry into effect of the Law on Levies), which was bigger than a corresponding levy established later, must be returned or otherwise compensated is not in conflict Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, Article 4 of the Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises. It is also clear from the content of the petition that the petitioner believes that the aforesaid provisions of Articles 10 and 18 of the Law on Levies, Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 and Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by the said Government resolution ought to provide that the stamp duty paid previously (under the Law on Stamp Duty which was in force prior to the entry into effect of the Law on Levies), which was bigger than a corresponding levy established later, must be returned or otherwise compensated.

Thus, the petitioner requests an investigation into something which is not established but, in his opinion, ought to be established in Articles 10 and 18 of the Law on Levies, Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 and Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by the said government resolution.

6. If the laws (parts thereof) do not establish certain legal regulation, the Constitution Court enjoys the constitutional powers to investigate the compliance of these laws (parts thereof) with the Constitution in the cases when due to the fact that the said legal regulation has not been established in particularly those laws (parts thereof) the principles and/or norms of the Constitution might be violated.

The Constitutional Court also enjoys the constitutional powers to investigate the compliance of the substatutory acts (parts thereof) of the Seimas, the Government, the President of the Republic in which certain legal regulation is not established with the Constitution and/or laws in the cases when due to the fact that the said legal regulation has not been established in particularly those substatutory legal acts (parts thereof) the Constitution and/or laws might be violated.

In the cases when the petitioner impugns the fact that the law or another impugned legal act (part thereof) indicated by the petitioner has not established certain legal regulation, but the said legal regulation under the Constitution (or under the laws, too, in case one impugns a substatutory legal act of the Seimas, the Government or the President of the Republic) need not be established in that particular impugned legal act (part thereof), the Constitutional Court holds that in the case on the petition of the petitioner the matter of investigation is absent; this is the grounds to dismiss the case (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 25 January 2001).

7. Paragraph 1 of Article 10 of the Law on Levies provides for situations in which the state levy paid is returned; Article 18 of the Law on Levies provides, inter alia, as to from what date the Law on Stamp Duty becomes no longer valid; government resolution No. 1123 of 11 November 1994 as well as the other 86 government resolutions whereby one used to amend and/or supplement government resolution No. 1123 of 11 November 1994 was recognised as no longer valid by Item 3 of the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000; Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by government resolution No. 1458 of 15 December 2000 provided for the procedure of the returning of the paid state levy.

The provisions of the Law on Levies and the items of government resolution No. 1458 of 15 December 2000 which have been pointed out by the petitioner are not designated to regulate relations linked with returning or other compensation of the stamp duty paid earlier (under the Law on Stamp Duty which was in force prior to the Law on Levies) which was bigger than a later established corresponding levy. Under the Constitution, the provisions of the Law on Levies do not have to provide (contrary to the opinion of the petitioner) that the stamp duty paid earlier (under the Law on Stamp Duty which was in force prior to the Law on Levies) which was bigger than a later established corresponding levy ought to be returned or otherwise compensated.

Thus, the matter of investigation is absent in the case on the petition of the petitioner whether Article 10 of the Law on Levies to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously, also Article 18 thereof to the extent holding the Law on Stamp Duty as no longer valid, however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, whether the Government Resolution (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 to the extent holding government resolution No. 1123 of 11 November 1994 (with subsequent amendments and supplements) as no longer valid, however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously and whether Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by the said government resolution to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution, Article 4 of the Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Law on Enterprises.

8. It needs to be noted that the fact that in the case on the petition of the petitioner the matter of investigation is absent means that the petition is not within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.

Under Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court shall refuse to consider petitions requesting an investigation into the compliance of a legal act with the Constitution, if the consideration of the petition does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.

Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides that in the event that the grounds for refusal to consider a petition have been established after the commencement of the investigation of the case during the hearing of the Constitutional Court, a decision to dismiss the case shall be adopted.

Taking account of the arguments set forth, the case on the petition of the petitioner must be dismissed.

Conforming to Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 69 as well as Paragraph 3 of the same article of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania adopts the following

decision:

To dismiss the case on the petition of the Panevėžys Regional Administrative Court requesting an investigation into whether Article 10 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Levies to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously, also Article 18 thereof to the extent holding the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Stamp Duty as no longer valid, however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, whether the Resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1458) “On the Confirmation of the List of Objects of State Levy and Its Amounts as well as the Procedure for Its Payment and Returning” of 15 December 2000 to the extent holding the 11 November 1994 resolution (No. 1123) of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (with subsequent amendments and supplements) as no longer valid, however, not providing as to how one has to return or compensate a bigger stamp duty paid previously, and whether Item 6 of the Procedure for the Payment and Returning of the State Levy as confirmed by the said government resolution to the extent providing in what cases the state levy is returned, however, not providing how one has to return or compensate otherwise a bigger stamp duty paid previously are not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 4 of Article 46 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 4 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Competition and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Enterprises.

This decision of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania is final and not subject to appeal.

The decision is pronounced in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                                  Armanas Abramavičius

Egidijus Jarašiūnas

Egidijus Kūris

Kęstutis Lapinskas

Zenonas Namavičius

Augustinas Normantas

Jonas Prapiestis

Vytautas Sinkevičius

Stasys Stačiokas