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On taxation with the immovable property tax

Case No. 17/2003

 

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ARTICLE 7 (WORDING OF 21 DECEMBER 2011) OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON IMMOVABLE PROPERTY TAX WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

22 September 2015 No. KT24-N14/2015

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Elvyra Baltutytė, Vytautas Greičius, Danutė Jočienė, Pranas Kuconis, Gediminas Mesonis, Vytas Milius, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, and Dainius Žalimas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

Antanas Nesteckis, a member of the Seimas, acting as the representative of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the party concerned

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 2 September 2015, at the Court’s public hearing, considered constitutional justice case No. 17/2013 subsequent to petition No. 1B-22/2013 filed by the Panevėžys Regional Administrative Court requesting an investigation into whether the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Immovable Property Tax (its wording of 7 June 2005 together with the amendment and supplement of 21 December 2011), insofar as it does not provide for a possibility of exempting natural persons—payers of this tax—who must pay the immovable property tax, as prescribed by the provisions of Article 3, Paragraph 4 of Article 6, Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 7, and Paragraph 6 of Article 7 of the said law, from paying the entire immovable property tax or a part thereof, and insofar as it does not prescribe any criteria of such exemption, is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The petition of the Panevėžys Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

The rights of payers of the immovable property tax are consolidated differently in the Law on Immovable Property Tax (hereinafter also referred to as the Law)—the tax payers the tax paid by whom is included into the municipal budgets are entitled either to a tax concession or a tax exemption, whereas, according to this law, those tax payers the tax paid by whom is included into the state budget do not have such a right under any circumstances. If an assessment is made on the grounds of the taxed object, there are not any essential differences or any other distinctive features among the specified groups of payers of this tax so that such taxpayers might be treated in a different manner, therefore, there are doubts whether such legal regulation violates the principle of the equality of rights that is consolidated in Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

According to the provisions of the impugned law, the immovable property tax may also be imposed on the structures intended for dwelling purposes owned or being obtained by natural persons where such structures are meant for satisfying the needs of their families or under-age children and which might as well be the only home of such families for accessing which bank loans might be used. A family that has gained access to a residential property may be a large one, or one with dependants, such a family may lose their breadwinner, they may lose their income, or the income received by a payer of this tax may be not enough for supporting the family or under-age children, thus, paying the immovable property tax may become a crippling financial burden on a natural person or on a whole family, therefore, such a burden is unreasonable and unfair. In order to avoid any such difficult situations or any situations where the legitimate interests of the families of such persons, including the legitimate interests of under-age children, could suffer unreasonably and unfairly, the legislature, in regulating the procedure for calculating this tax, must provide for a possibility of exempting the taxpayers from paying the entire immovable property tax or a part thereof on the grounds of law-established criteria connected with the financial situation of families, their ability to pay, and the situation and number of under-age children raised in families. If no such legal regulation is established, then the legitimate interests of families and under-age children are not defended and, due to this, the provisions of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 and Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution, as well as the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, could be violated.

II

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court’s hearing, written explanations from Seimas member Antanas Nesteckis were received, wherein it is maintained that the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with the Constitution. The position of the representative of the party concerned is substantiated by the following arguments.

The fact that the immovable property tax is included either into a municipal budget or into the state budget is determined by the object on which the immovable property tax is imposed and by the peculiarities of administering this tax. The immovable property tax reaches the budget of the municipality on whose territory the immovable property is situated, with the exception of the immovable property tax, which reaches the state budget, on the structures (premises) owned or being obtained by natural persons intended for dwelling purposes, gardens, garages, homesteads, greenhouses, farms, subsidiary farms, science, religion or recreation, as well as fish-farming structures or engineering structures. In the latter case, the tax base is calculated by adding all the objects on which the immovable property tax is imposed and which are owned by the respective natural person or his/her family members. In view of the fact that all such objects may be located on the territory of not a single, but several municipalities, this tax has been categorised as a tax received by the state budget.

The different procedure determining which budget receives the immovable property tax implies different possibilities of applying the tax concession. Since the immovable property tax that must be paid by natural persons on the structures (premises) owned or being obtained by them, where the total value of such structures (premises) exceeds one million litas, should be categorised as state budget revenue, the legislature established the tax concession in the law itself: upon assessing the ability of the taxpayers to pay, it established the limit (one million litas) where the duty to pay this tax arises only on the value exceeding such a limit. In addition, only the taxable value of the property that exceeded one million litas was taxed, while all the rest payers of the immovable property tax must pay this tax on the entire value of such property.

In the opinion of the representative of the party concerned, neither the credit commitments of the payers of this tax nor the number of raised children constitutes the grounds for exempting them from the tax duty or for establishing certain tax concessions in laws namely from this aspect, since every taxpayer, before taking on certain property liabilities, must assess his/her financial capacity. On the other hand, state social support for families raising children is guaranteed by means of special laws (for example, the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Benefits for Families Raising Children, the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Cash Social Assistance for Needy Residents etc.), while the tax laws provide for special tax concessions for families raising children or families that received bank home loans, therefore, it is possible to presume that in order to ensure the proper implementation of the provisions of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 as well as Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution, the state ensures the social assistance by means of a special legal regulation but not by concessions of the immovable property tax.

III

1. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, Seimas member Antanas Nesteckis virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in his written explanations and answered the questions of the Justices of the Constitutional Court.

2. At the Constitutional Court’s hearing, the specialists—Paulius Majauskas, Head of the Tax Administration Division of the Tax Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, Jurgita Lisauskienė, Deputy Head of the Direct Taxes and International Taxation Division of the same department, Rolandas Ragėnas, Head of the Direct Tax Division of the Law Department of the State Tax Inspectorate under the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania, and Raimonda Juodkaitė, Deputy Head of the Appeals Division of the same department—took the floor and answered the questions.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. On 7 June 2005, the Seimas adopted the Law on Immovable Property Tax which, under Paragraph 1 of Article 15 thereof, came into force on 1 January 2006. This law set forth the procedure for imposing the immovable property tax on immovable property (Article 1).

This law has been amended and/or supplemented on more than one occasion, inter alia, by means of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending and Supplementing Articles 2, 4, 6, 7, 11, 12, and 14 of the Law on Immovable Property Tax, which was adopted by the Seimas on 21 December 2011, and by means of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law Amending Articles 6 and 7 of the Law on Immovable Property Tax (No. X-233), which was adopted on 9 December 2014.

2. Article 4 “Object of Taxation” (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law prescribes:

The tax shall be imposed on immovable property located in the Republic of Lithuania, with the exception of:

1) the immovable property not in use, where the construction thereof has not been completed in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Construction;

2) the immovable property created or acquired on the basis of general government and private entities’ partnership as defined by the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Investments for the period of the implementation of a general government and private entities’ partnership agreement and use of this immovable property according to the purpose specified in this agreement.”

Paragraph 8 of Article 2 “Definitions” of the Law prescribes: “‘Immovable property’ shall mean the premises, engineering and other structures registered in the Real Property Register.”

Thus, under the legal regulation laid down in Article 4 (wording of 21 December 2011) and Paragraph 8 of Article 2 of the Law, the immovable property tax is imposed, save the established exceptions, on the premises, engineering structures, and other structures located in the Republic of Lithuania and registered in the Real Property Register.

3. It should be mentioned that, under Paragraph 1 of Article 9 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Real Property Register (wording of 21 June 2001), the following immovable items are registered provided they have been formed as individual objects of real property and have been given a unique number under procedure established in the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Real Property Cadastre: land plots, structures, flats in blocks of flats, or premises.

4. Article 7 “Tax Concessions” (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law prescribed:

1. The following immovable property subject to payment of the tax by a natural person under Article 3 of this Law shall be exempt from tax:

1) the immovable property (or part thereof) used by a natural person for the manufacture of cult articles as well as for social welfare and social care;

2) the immovable property (or part thereof) used by a natural person to receive (earn) income from agricultural activities as defined in Paragraph 33 of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Personal Income Tax;

3) the immovable property (or part thereof) used by a natural person for education endeavours;

4) the immovable property (or part thereof) used by a natural person for the provision of burial services or located in the territory of a cemetery;

5) the immovable property (or part thereof) used by a natural person having the status of an artist as studios for individual creative activities;

6) the total value not exceeding one million litas of the structures (premises) owned or being obtained by natural persons intended for dwelling purposes, gardens, garages, homesteads, greenhouses, farms, subsidiary farms, science, religion or recreation, as well as fish-farming structures or engineering structures.

2. “The following immovable property subject to payment of the tax by a legal person under Article 3 of this Law shall be exempt from tax:

4. Tax concessions shall be applied in accordance with the following procedure:

1) upon the acquisition of the right to a concession, the concession shall be applied as of the month when the right to the concession was acquired;

2) upon the loss of the right to a concession, the concession shall cease to be applied as of the month following the month when the right to the concession was lost.

5. Municipal councils shall have the right to reduce the tax or to completely exempt from payment thereof at the expense of their budgets.

6. The tax-free immovable property value established in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of this Article is applied to all the immovable property having the purpose specified in this Item where such property is owned or being obtained by family members. When this provision is applied, spouses, persons raising children (adopted children) alone, or their children (adopted children) residing with them if they have not reached 18 years of age are deemed family members.”

Thus, Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law, inter alia, listed the immovable property not subject to the immovable property tax, laid down the procedure for applying the concessions of the immovable property tax, and established the right of the municipal councils to reduce the tax or to completely exempt from payment thereof at the expense of their budgets.

4.1. Paragraph 1 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law established immovable property tax concessions for natural persons—it listed the immovable property not subject to the immovable property tax; under Item 6 of the said paragraph, the structures (premises) owned or being obtained by natural persons intended for dwelling purposes, gardens, garages, homesteads, greenhouses, farms, subsidiary farms, science, religion or recreation, as well as fish-farming structures or engineering structures, whose total value did not exceed one million litas, were not subject to the immovable property tax.

Thus, under Article 4 (wording of 21 December 2011) and Item 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law, the immovable property tax was imposed on the aforesaid structures (premises) owned or being obtained by natural persons where the total value of such structures (premises) exceeded one million litas.

4.2. Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law provides that the tax-free value of one million litas is applied to all the immovable property owned or being obtained by family members where such property is specified in Item 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Paragraph 1 of the same article (the structures (premises) intended for dwelling purposes, gardens, garages, homesteads, greenhouses, farms, subsidiary farms, science, religion or recreation, as well as fish-farming structures or engineering structures) and enumerates natural persons who are deemed family members when this provision is applied.

If the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law is interpreted in conjunction with that established in Item 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Paragraph 1 of the same article, it should be noted that the immovable property whose purpose is specified in the said item, where it is owned or being obtained by a natural person who is deemed a family member according to Paragraph 6 of this article, and the respective property of other natural persons deemed to be his/her family members is jointly taxed with the immovable property tax upon determining the total value of all such property.

Thus, under the legal regulation laid down in Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law, in calculating the immovable property tax, the same tax-free value, which was one million litas, of the immovable property whose purpose was specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of this article was applied both to the property of a natural person who was not deemed a family member under Paragraph 6 of this article and to the property of all the natural persons who, according to the same paragraph, were deemed members of a certain family.

5. It should be noted that Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law did not establish any exceptions and/or concessions for natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises), owned or being obtained by them, intended for dwelling purposes, gardens, garages, homesteads, greenhouses, farms, subsidiary farms, science, religion or recreation, as well as fish-farming structures or engineering structures, the total value of which exceeded one million litas. Nor did the same article establish any criteria of exemption from such a tax.

6. Article 6 “Tax Rates” (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law prescribed:

1. The tax rate shall range from 0.3 percent up to 1 percent of the taxable value of immovable property, unless otherwise established by this Article.

2. A municipal council shall, by 1 June of a given tax period, establish a specific tax rate which shall be valid in the territory of a relevant municipality from the beginning of the next tax period. If, in compliance with Paragraph 3 of Article 9 of this Law, the tax for the immovable property indicated in Items 1 and 2 of Paragraph 2 of Article 9 of this Law is calculated by applying, from the next tax period, the value determined by a newly performed mass valuation of immovable property, the municipal council may, by 1 December of a given tax period, establish the tax rate to be valid during the next tax period. The municipal council may also establish several specific tax rates which shall be differentiated only on the basis of one or several of the following criteria: the purpose of immovable property, the use, legal status, technical features, maintenance condition thereof, the categories of taxpayers (size or legal form or social situation) or the location of immovable property in the territory of the municipality (according to the priorities set forth in strategic planning and territorial planning documents).

3. Where a municipal council does not establish a specific tax rate until the deadline referred to in Paragraph 2 of this Article or changes the established tax rate after the deadline indicated in Paragraph 2 of this Article, a tax rate of 0.3 percent shall apply in the territory of that municipality during the appropriate tax period.

4. A tax rate of 1 percent shall be applied to a part of the taxable value of the property specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of this Law where this part exceeds the amount exempt from tax.”

Article 14 “Inclusion of the Tax into the Budget” (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law prescribes:

1. The tax shall be included into the budget of a municipality in the territory whereof the immovable property is located, unless otherwise established by this Article.

2. Where immovable property is located in the territory of several municipalities, the tax shall be included in proportion to the portion of the immovable property held by the relevant municipality.

3. The immovable property tax imposed by applying the rate as prescribed in Paragraph 4 of Article 6 of this Law shall be included in the state budget.”

6.1. According to the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 4 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 6 and Paragraph 3 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 14 of the Law, a tax rate of 1 percent is applied to the part of the taxable value of the structures (premises) owned or being obtained by natural persons where such a part exceeds one million litas; the tax on such immovable property is included into the state budget.

6.2. According to the legal regulation laid down in Paragraphs 1–3 of Article 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law, the immovable property (with the exception of the immovable property specified in Paragraph 4 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 6 of the Law, i.e. the part of the taxable value, exceeding one million litas, of structures (premises) owned or being obtained by natural persons) was taxed with the immovable property tax at the rate ranging from 0.3 percent to 1 percent on the taxable value of the immovable property; a concrete rate of the tax is established by the respective municipal council that also has the right to establish several concrete rates of the tax; this tax is included into the budget of a municipality in the territory whereof the immovable property is located. It should be noted that, under Paragraph 5 of Article 7 of the Law, the municipal councils have the right to reduce the immovable property tax or to completely exempt from payment thereof at the expense of their budgets.

6.3. Thus, according to the legal regulation laid down in the Law, in the case where the Law gives the task to a municipal council to establish the rate of the immovable property tax and this tax is included into the budget of the municipal council, such a municipal council has the right to reduce the immovable property tax or to completely exempt from payment thereof at the expense of its budget, while in the case where the rate of the immovable property tax is established in the Law and this tax is included into the state budget, no subject may reduce this tax or completely exempt from payment thereof.

7. It has been mentioned that the Law has been amended, inter alia, by the Law Amending Articles 6 and 7 of the Law on Immovable Property Tax (No. X-233), which was adopted by the Seimas on 9 December 2014.

7.1. By Article 1 of the Law Amending Articles 6 and 7 of the Law on Immovable Property Tax (No. X-233) Paragraph 4 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 6 of the Law was amended. The said paragraph (wording of 9 December 2014) was set forth as follows: “A tax rate of 0.5 percent shall be applied to a part of the taxable value of the property specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of this Law where this part exceeds the amount exempt from tax.” Thus, this amendment reduced the rate of the immovable property tax applied to the specified property of natural persons.

7.2. By Article 2 of the Law Amending Articles 6 and 7 of the Law on Immovable Property Tax (No. X-233) Item 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law was amended. The said item (wording of 9 December 2014) was set forth as follows:

The following immovable property subject to payment of the tax by a natural person under Article 3 of this Law shall be exempt from tax: … 6) the total value not exceeding 200,000 euros of the structures (premises) owned or being obtained by natural persons intended for dwelling purposes, gardens, garages, homesteads, greenhouses, farms, subsidiary farms, science, religion or recreation, as well as fish-farming structures or engineering structures. The tax-free value of immovable property shall be increased by 30 percent for families raising three or more children (adopted children) if they have not reached 18 years of age, or raising a disabled child (adopted child) if s/he has not reached 18 years of age, or raising an older disabled child (adopted child) for whom a special need of permanent nursing care is established.”

Thus, this amendment reduced the tax-free value of the specified immovable property owned or obtained by natural persons; in addition, it established a tax concession applicable to certain families—the tax-free value of this property was increased by 30 percent.

8. In the context of the case at issue, it also needs to be mentioned that, according to Article 88 “Deferral or Spread of Arrears in Payments” of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Tax Administration, the tax administrator may defer or spread the time limit for discharging arrears in payments regarding the immovable property tax only in the case where an immediate discharge would result in a critical financial position of the taxpayer or the taxpayer would face major financial difficulties in discharging other financial obligations, while the deferral or spread of the discharge of arrears in payments would allow the taxpayer to stabilise his/her financial position and discharge arrears in payments later on (Paragraph 1 (wording of 23 November 2010), Paragraph 2 (wording of 13 April 2004)).

9. To summarise both the legal regulation laid down in Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) and related legal regulation in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that:

the structures (premises) owned or being obtained by natural persons intended for dwelling purposes, gardens, garages, homesteads, greenhouses, farms, subsidiary farms, science, religion or recreation, as well as fish-farming structures or engineering structures, whose total value exceeded one million litas were subject to the immovable property tax.

under the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law, when it is interpreted in conjunction with that established in Item 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Paragraph 1 of the same article, the immovable property whose purpose is specified in the said item, where it is owned or being obtained by a natural person who is deemed a family member according to Paragraph 6 of this article, and the respective property of other natural persons deemed to be his/her family members is jointly taxed with the immovable property tax upon determining the total value of all such property; the same tax-free value—one million litas—was applied both to the property of a natural person not deemed a family member under Paragraph 6 of this article and to the property of the natural persons deemed under this paragraph to be members of the respective family;

no exceptions or concessions of the immovable property tax were established for natural persons who had to pay this tax on the said immovable property owned or being obtained by them the total value of which exceeded one million litas; nor were any criteria of exemption from such a tax established;

in the case where the Law gives the task to a municipal council to establish a concrete rate of the immovable property tax and this tax is included into the budget of the municipal council, this council has the right to reduce the immovable property tax or to completely exempt from payment thereof at the expense of its budget; in the case where the rate of the immovable property tax is established in the Law and this tax is included into the state budget, no subject may reduce this tax or completely exempt from payment thereof.

II

1. In the constitutional justice case at issue, the Constitutional Court investigates the compliance of the legal regulation governing taxation with the immovable property tax as consolidated in the Law on Immovable Property Tax with Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

2. The Constitutional Court has held that taxes form an essential part of the financial system of the state and that they constitute the main part of the revenue of the state budget (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 15 March 2000 and 5 July 2013) and are one of the primary conditions for the existence of the state (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 9 October 1998 and 5 July 2013). The establishment of taxes is aimed at receiving revenue to perform the functions of the state (municipality) and to meet the public needs of both society and the state (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 17 November 2003 and 5 July 2013). When taxes are not paid or are overdue, the state (municipal) budget does not receive part of its revenue, and the possibilities for the state (municipality) to perform the functions established for it are limited (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 10 July 1997, 17 November 2003, and 5 July 2013). By means of taxes, economic and social processes are regulated, useful economic efforts are induced, and priorities of economic development are supported (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 17 November 2003). Tax relations are a matter of regulation by public law; tax relations are legal relations of a commanding character between taxpayers and state institutions; the decisions (orders) adopted by the latter are obligatory to taxpayers (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 17 November 2003 and 12 February 2010).

The Constitutional Court also noted in its acts that taxes and other compulsory payments are compulsory and unrequited payments of an appropriate size which are established by law and made by legal and natural persons to the state (municipal) budget in due time (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 24 January 2006 and 3 April 2015). State taxes and other compulsory payments are a pecuniary obligation of legal subjects to the state; under the Constitution, only the Seimas may establish state taxes and other compulsory payments, and it may establish them only by law, which is an important guarantee of the protection of persons’ rights (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 3 June 2002 and 3 April 2015). In imposing taxes, the legislature must heed the norms and principles of the Constitution, inter alia, the constitutional principles of justice, reasonableness and proportionality (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 December 2006). The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that such essential elements of tax as the object of tax, subjects of tax relations, their rights and duties, sizes (rates) of tax, terms of payment, exceptions and concessions, fines and late payment interest should be established by law.

2.1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that the establishment of tax exceptions or tax concessions is a matter of social and economic expediency that is within the competence of the legislature. Under the Constitution, the legislature enjoys the discretion to establish by law tax exceptions or tax concessions by taking account of the resources of the state and society, the material and financial possibilities, the priorities of economic and social policy, and by heeding other important factors. In doing so, the legislature may not violate the norms or principles of the Constitution.

2.2. In this context, it should also be noted that, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court on more than one occasion:

under the Constitution, the Seimas, as the legislative state institution, and the Government, as a state institution of the executive, have a very broad discretion to form and pursue the state economic policy (each according to its competence) as well as to regulate the economic activity by means of legal acts in the respective manner, certainly, without violating the Constitution and laws under any circumstances, inter alia, without exceeding the powers of these state institutions established therein, by heeding the requirements of the due process of law stemming from the Constitution, the principles of a state under the rule of law, the separation of powers, responsible governance, the protection of legitimate expectations, legal clarity, legal certainty, and legal security consolidated in the Constitution (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 21 December 2006 and 14 May 2015);

as such, an assessment of the content (inter alia, priorities), measures and methods of the state economic policy (regardless of who assesses them), including the aspect of their reasonableness and expediency, even if it turns out later that there were better alternatives for choosing the economic policy (thus, also the fact that this economic policy formulated and carried out previously might reasonably be assessed negatively from the aspect of reasonableness and expediency) cannot be a reason to question the compliance of the legal regulation of an economic activity conforming to the said economic policy (formulated and carried out before) with higher-ranking legislation, inter alia, with the Constitution (also by initiating the respective constitutional justice cases at the Constitutional Court), with the exception of the situation where such legal regulation already at the time of its setting forth in legal acts is clearly directed against the welfare of the nation, the interests of the State of Lithuania and its society and clearly denies the values defended and protected by the Constitution (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 2 March 2009 and 11 June 2015).

3. Articles 38 and 39 of the Constitution consolidate the constitutional grounds for protecting the family, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood.

3.1. Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution prescribe:

The family shall be the basis of society and the State.

Family, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood shall be under the protection and care of the State.”

Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution consolidate the respective constitutional principles of a most general character (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 28 September 2011 and 27 February 2012). The Constitutional Court has held that these provisions express an obligation of the state to establish, by means of laws and other legal acts, such legal regulation that would ensure that the family, as well as motherhood, fatherhood and childhood as constitutional values should be fostered and protected in all ways possible (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 28 September 2011 and 27 February 2012).

In interpreting the state obligation arising from Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution to create the environment favourable for the family, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood, the Constitutional Court has held, among other things, that certain support may be given to families with under-age children by taking account of the needs of such families and the capacity of society and the state, and that, in this area, the legislature, taking account of various social, demographic and economic factors, inter alia, the material and financial opportunities of the state, enjoys broad discretion to choose concrete instruments of protection and support (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 27 February 2012).

3.2. Paragraph 1 of Article 39 of the Constitution prescribes: “The State shall take care of families raising and bringing up children at home, and shall render them support according to the procedure established by law.”

In revealing the content of the guarantee of state care and support for families raising and bringing up children at home as consolidated in Paragraph 1 of Article 39 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court has noted that the legislature may establish various forms of implementing such a guarantee, however, in implementing its discretion, the legislature is not allowed to deny, in general, the essence of this guarantee and the state obligation arising from Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution to preserve and cherish the constitutional values—the family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 27 February 2012).

The Constitution does not expressis verbis establish any grounds, conditions, terms and amounts of giving support to the families that raise and bring up children at home; this should be established by the legislature in compliance with the norms and principles of the Constitution; the capabilities of society and the state should be taken into account when regulating by law the relations of support given to the families that raise and bring up children at home; the legislature has broad discretion in this sphere (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 5 March 2004 and 27 February 2012).

3.3. Paragraph 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution prescribes: “Under-age children shall be protected by law.”

This provision of the Constitution means that sufficient and effective protection must be guaranteed for the rights and legitimate interests of under-age children, and that the legislature and other state institutions regulating the legal situation of under-age children and regulating other relations must pay heed to the rights and legitimate interests of under-age children (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 13 June 2000).

3.4. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that the establishment of tax exceptions and tax concessions, inter alia, those of the immovable property tax, may be among the forms of protecting and supporting families, inter alia, families with under-age children; such forms may be developed in implementing the state obligation arising from Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution to create the environment favourable to families, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood. In establishing tax concessions, the legislature must heed the capabilities of society and the state and must not violate the norms and principles of the Constitution.

4. The Constitutional Court, in interpreting the provisions of Article 29 of the Constitution, has held on more than one occasion that the constitutional principle of the equality of all persons before the law, as consolidated in the said article, requires that fundamental rights and duties be established in law equally to all; this principle means the right of an individual to be treated equally with others; it imposes the obligation to assess homogenous facts in the same manner and prohibits any arbitrary assessment of essentially the same facts in a different manner, however, it does not deny a differentiated legal regulation, established by law, with respect to certain categories of persons who are in different situations; the constitutional principle of the equality of persons would be violated if certain persons or groups of such persons were treated in a different manner even though between the said groups of persons there would be no differences of such a character or extent that could objectively justify their uneven treatment; when assessing whether a certain established differentiated legal regulation is well-grounded, it is necessary to take into account concrete legal circumstances; first of all, consideration must be given to differences in the legal situation of the subjects and objects to which a certain differentiated legal regulation is applied.

5. In its rulings, the Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that, in preparing and adopting legal acts, institutions of state power must follow the principle of a state under the rule of law entrenched in the Constitution. This principle implies, along with the other requirements, that the Constitution is the supreme legal act, that the laws, government resolutions and other legal acts must be in conformity with the Constitution, and that the institutions exercising state authority and other state institutions must act on the basis of law and in compliance with law. The Constitutional Court has also held that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is inseparable from the principle of the equality of persons consolidated in the Constitution, inter alia, in Article 29 thereof, and from the principle of justice.

III

On the compliance of Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law on Immovable Property Tax with Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice

1. The Panevėžys Regional Administrative Court, the petitioner, requests an investigation into the constitutionality of the Law on Immovable Property Tax (wording of 7 June 2005, as amended and supplemented on 21 December 2011), insofar as it provides for no possibility of exempting natural persons—taxpayers—who must pay the immovable property tax under the provisions of Article 3, Paragraph 4 of Article 6, Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of Article 7, and Paragraph 6 of Article 7 of the said law from paying the immovable property tax in whole or in part, and insofar as it provides for no criteria for such exemption.

The arguments set forth in the petition of the petitioner make it clear that, in its opinion, the Law should have established certain exceptions and/or concessions of the immovable property tax for the natural persons who have to pay this tax on certain immovable property.

2. It should be noted that, as mentioned before, the concessions of the immovable property tax are regulated in Article 7 “Tax Concessions” of the Law.

Thus, the petition of the petitioner requesting an investigation into the compliance of the Law (wording of 7 June 2005, as amended and supplemented on 21 December 2011) with the Constitution to the extent specified by the petitioner should be treated as the petition requesting an investigation into the constitutionality of Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law, insofar as it did not establish any exceptions and/or concessions for natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises) specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of the same article provided the total value of such structures (premises) exceeded one million litas.

3. It has been mentioned that, in the opinion of the petitioner, the rights of payers of the immovable property tax are consolidated differently in the Law—the tax payers the tax paid by whom is received by the municipal budgets are entitled either to a tax concession or a tax exemption, whereas, according to this law, those tax payers the tax paid by whom is received by the state budget do not have such a right under any circumstances. According to the petitioner, if an assessment is made on the grounds of the taxed object, there are not any essential differences or any other distinctive features among the specified groups of payers of this tax so that such taxpayers might be treated in a different manner, therefore, in the opinion of the petitioner, there are doubts whether such legal regulation violates the principle of the equality of rights that is consolidated in Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

In addition, according to the petitioner, as the Law does not provide for a possibility of exempting natural persons from paying either the entire immovable property tax or a part thereof, and since no criteria of such exemption are established where such criteria would be related to the financial situation of families, their ability to pay, and to the situation and number of under-age children raised in families, the legitimate interests of families and under-age children are not defended, thus, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution, as well as the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice might be violated.

4. When deciding whether Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law is in conflict with the Constitution to the specified extent, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, this article did not establish any exceptions and/or concessions for natural persons or families who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises) (specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of the same article) owned or being obtained by them the total value of which exceeded one million litas; nor did this article establish any criteria of exemption from such a tax.

4.1. When assessing whether the impugned article of the Law to the specified extent is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, according to the legal regulation laid down in the Law, in the case where the Law gives the task to a municipal council to establish the rate of the immovable property tax and this tax is included into the budget of the municipal council, such a municipal council has the right to reduce the tax or to completely exempt from payment thereof at the expense of its budget, while in the case where the rate of the immovable property tax is established in the Law and this tax is included into the state budget, no subject may either reduce this tax or completely exempt from payment thereof.

4.1.1. In impugning the compliance of the specified legal regulation with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution, the petitioner compares the natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises), specified in Item 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law, intended for dwelling purposes, gardens, garages, homesteads, greenhouses, farms, subsidiary farms, science, religion or recreation, as well as fish-farming structures or engineering structures, whose total value exceeded one million litas, with the natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on other immovable property (for example, on immovable property intended for trade, services, or for other commercial purposes). It should be noted that the conditions of paying the immovable property tax as established for these persons by the Law are different according to the features of the objects, but not subjects of the rights of ownership, therefore, such legal regulation does not violate the constitutional principle of the equality of rights of persons.

4.1.2. Thus, it should be held that the legal regulation consolidated in Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law insofar as this legal regulation did not established any exceptions or concessions for natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises) specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of the same article the total value of which exceeded one million litas did not violate the constitutional principle of the equality of rights of persons.

4.2. When assessing whether the impugned article of the Law to the specified extent is in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 as well as Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution, it should be noted that, as mentioned before, certain support may be given to families with under-age children by taking account of the needs of such families and the capacity of society and the state; the legislature may establish various forms of implementing the guarantee of state care and support for families raising and bringing up children at home; the legislature has broad discretion in this sphere; the establishment of tax exceptions or tax concessions, including those of the immovable property tax, may be among the forms of protecting and supporting families, inter alia, families with under-age children; such forms may be developed in implementing the state constitutional obligation arising from Paragraph 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution to create the environment favourable to families, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood; in establishing tax concessions, the legislature must heed the capabilities of society and the state and must not violate the norms and principles of the Constitution.

4.2.1. As mentioned before, Paragraph 1 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law established the concession of the immovable property tax for natural persons—they did not have to pay this tax on the structures (premises) owned or being obtained by them where such structures (premises) were intended for dwelling purposes, gardens, garages, homesteads, greenhouses, farms, subsidiary farms, science, religion or recreation, as well as fish-farming structures or engineering structures, whose total value did not exceed one million litas; the aforesaid structures (premises) owned or being obtained by natural persons were subject to the immovable property tax provided that the total value of such structures exceeded one million litas.

It has also been mentioned that, according to the Law on Tax Administration, the tax administrator may defer or spread the time limit for discharging arrears in payments regarding the immovable property tax only in the case where an immediate discharge would result in a critical financial position of the taxpayer or the taxpayer would face major financial difficulties in discharging other financial obligations, while the deferral or spread of the discharge of arrears in payments would allow the taxpayer to stabilise his/her financial position and discharge arrears in payments later on.

4.2.2. It should be noted that, according to the legal regulation impugned in the constitutional justice case at issue, only the natural persons who owned or were obtaining high-value immovable property had to pay the immovable property tax; in addition, such persons were taxed not on entire high-value immovable property, but only on the part of its taxable value which exceeded one million litas; the same impugned legal regulation stipulates that social support for natural persons (families) is given under other laws, and that the Law on Tax Administration provides for a possibility of deferring or spreading the discharge in payments of the arrears of the immovable property tax.

In view of this fact, there are no grounds for stating that the legal regulation consolidated in Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law, insofar as it did not establish any exceptions and/or concessions for natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises) specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of the same article provided the total value of such structures (premises) exceeded one million litas, did not pay heed to the state obligation arising from Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution to preserve and cherish the constitutional values—the family, motherhood, fatherhood and childhood, nor did it have regard to the guarantee consolidated in Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution.

4.3. When assessing whether Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law to the specified extent is in conflict with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice, it should be noted that the doubts of the petitioner regarding the compliance of this article with the said constitutional principles are substantiated by the same arguments as its doubts regarding the compliance of the same article with Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38, as well as Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution.

4.3.1. It has been noted in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the establishment of tax exceptions and tax concessions is a matter of social and economic expediency that is within the competence of the legislature; under the Constitution, the legislature enjoys the discretion to establish by law tax exceptions or tax concessions by taking account of the resources of the state and society, the material and financial possibilities, the priorities of state economic and social policy, and by heeding other important factors.

It has also been mentioned that, as such, an assessment of the content (inter alia, priorities), measures and methods of the state economic policy (regardless of who assesses them), including the aspect of their reasonableness and expediency, even if it turns out later that there were better alternatives for choosing the economic policy (thus, also the fact that this economic policy formulated and carried out previously might reasonably be assessed negatively from the aspect of reasonableness and expediency) cannot be a reason to question the compliance of the legal regulation of an economic activity conforming to the said economic policy (formulated and carried out before) with higher-ranking legislation, inter alia, with the Constitution (also by initiating the respective constitutional justice cases at the Constitutional Court), with the exception of the situation where such legal regulation already at the time of its setting forth in legal acts is clearly directed against the welfare of the nation, the interests of the State of Lithuania and its society and clearly denies the values defended and protected by the Constitution.

It should be held that the legislature, by deciding not to establish any exceptions and/or concessions for natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises) specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of the same article provided the total value of such structures (premises) exceeded one million litas, the legislature implemented its discretion to establish (or not to establish) tax exceptions or tax concessions by taking account of the resources of the state and society, the material and financial possibilities, the priorities of state economic and social policy, and by heeding other important factors.

Thus, there are no legal arguments for stating that the non-establishment of any exceptions and/or concessions for natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises) specified in Item 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Law provided the total value of such structures (premises) exceeded one million litas violated in any manner the requirements arising out of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

4.3.2. As mentioned before, according to the petitioner, the legislature, in regulating the procedure for calculating this tax, must provide for a possibility of exempting the taxpayers from paying the entire immovable property tax or a part thereof on the grounds of law-established criteria connected with the financial situation of families, their ability to pay, and the situation and number of under-age children raised in families. In other words, in the opinion of the petitioner, the state institution administering this tax should be granted the powers by law to decide in every concrete case whether the taxpayer meets the criteria established in the law and whether s/he may be exempted either from paying the entire immovable property tax or from a part thereof.

In this ruling of the Constitutional Court, it has been mentioned that such essential elements of tax as the object of tax, subjects of tax relations, their rights and duties, sizes (rates) of tax, terms of payment, exceptions and concessions should be established by law.

Consequently, all conditions for imposing a certain tax should be established by law. The law providing for the conditions of a certain tax must not contain any provisions granting the discretion to the state institutions administering taxes to decide whether a concrete taxpayer has to pay the tax or may be exempted from it even when certain circumstances are taken into account, as, for instance, the financial situation of the family of the taxpayer, the ability of such a family to pay, the number of under-age children raised in the family, etc. Otherwise, should the state institutions administering taxes enjoy such discretion, the essence of a tax as law-established unrequited compulsory payment by legal and natural persons during the established period to the state budget would be negated.

4.4. In the light of the foregoing arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011) of the Law, insofar as it did not establish any exceptions and/or concessions for natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises) specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of the same article provided the total value of such structures (premises) exceeded one million litas, was not in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 39 of the Constitution and the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and justice.

5. In the case at issue, the petitioner impugns to a certain extent the constitutionality of the legal regulation that consolidates the imposition of the immovable property tax on immovable property owned by family members. It should be noted that, after the Constitutional Court establishes that the impugned legal regulation is unconstitutional from the aspect other than that impugned by the petitioner, the Constitutional Court must state that, from the said aspect not pointed out by the petitioner, such legal regulation is in conflict with the Constitution. The implementation of constitutional justice implies that the legal act (part thereof) that conflicts with the Constitution must be removed from the legal system (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 29 November 2001 and 11 June 2015).

5.1. It has been mentioned that Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law prescribes:

The tax-free immovable property value established in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of this Article is applied to all the immovable property having the purpose specified in this Item where such property is owned or being obtained by family members. When this provision is applied, spouses, persons raising children (adopted children) alone, or their children (adopted children) residing with them if they have not reached 18 years of age are deemed family members.”

It has also been mentioned that, under the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law, when it is interpreted in conjunction with that established in Item 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Paragraph 1 of the same article, the immovable property whose purpose is specified in the said item, where it is owned or being obtained by a natural person who is deemed a family member according to Paragraph 6 of this article, and the respective property of other natural persons deemed to be his/her family members is jointly taxed with the immovable property tax upon determining the total value of all such property; the same tax-free value—one million litas—was applied both to the property of a natural person not deemed a family member under Paragraph 6 of this article and to the property of the natural persons deemed under this paragraph to be members of the respective family.

5.2. It has been held in this ruling that the constitutional principle of the equality of persons before the law would be violated if certain persons or groups of such persons were treated in a different manner even though between the said groups of persons there would be no differences of such a character or extent that could objectively justify their uneven treatment. It has also been held that the provisions of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution express an obligation of the state to establish, by means of laws and other legal acts, such legal regulation that would ensure that the family, as well as motherhood, fatherhood and childhood as constitutional values would be fostered and protected in all ways possible.

5.3. It should be noted that the legal regulation by which the same tax-free value is applied both to the property of a natural person not deemed a family member under Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law, and to the entire property of the natural persons who, under the same paragraph, are deemed family members creates the preconditions for imposing the immovable property tax on a lesser value of the property of a natural person who is deemed a family member under the this paragraph in comparison with the respective property of other natural persons.

In addition, the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law in some cases distorts the legal regulation established in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of the same article: when the immovable property tax is imposed on the immovable property of a natural person who is deemed a family member under Paragraph 6 of this article, and, if in such a family there are several owners of the immovable property taxed with this tax, the tax-free value of the immovable property for each of them may be lesser than that established in the said item.

Consequently, in comparison with other natural persons, unequal, i.e. a less favourable legal regulation of taxing immovable property has been established for natural persons who are deemed to be family members under Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law for the mere reason that such persons are spouses, or persons raising children (adopted children) alone, or children (adopted children) residing with them if they have not reached 18 years of age.

Thus, it should be held that, from the aspect of calculating and paying the immovable property tax, the legal regulation as consolidated in Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law, whereby the same tax-free value was applied both to the property of a natural person not deemed under the same paragraph to be a family member and to the property of the natural persons deemed under the same paragraph to be members of the respective family (spouses, persons raising children (adopted children) alone, or their children (adopted children) residing with them if they have not reached 18 years of age), treats the natural persons, deemed family members by this paragraph, in a different manner from other natural persons even though, from the aspect of imposing the immovable property tax on them, between the said groups of persons there are no differences of such a character or extent that could objectively justify their uneven treatment. This legal regulation is not in line with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution.

The legal regulation creating preconditions for imposing the immovable property tax on a lesser value of immovable property of the persons who, according to Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law, are deemed family members, in comparison with the taxable value of the respective property of other natural persons for the mere reason that such persons are spouses, or persons raising children (adopted children) alone, or children (adopted children) residing with them if they have not reached 18 years of age, is incompatible with the obligation undertaken by the state as consolidated in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution to ensure that the state would protect and care for family, motherhood, fatherhood, and childhood as constitutional values in every possible manner.

5.4. In the light of the foregoing arguments, the conclusion should be drawn that the provision “The tax-free immovable property value established in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of this Article is applied to all the immovable property having the purpose specified in this Item where such property is owned or being obtained by family members” of Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011) of Article 7 of the Law is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55, and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

1. To recognise that Article 7 (wording of 21 December 2011; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2011, No. 163-7742) of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Immovable Property Tax, insofar as it did not establish any exceptions and/or concessions for natural persons who had to pay the immovable property tax on the structures (premises) specified in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of the same article provided the total value of such structures (premises) exceeded one million litas, was not in conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

2. To recognise that the provision “The tax-free immovable property value established in Item 6 of Paragraph 1 of this Article is applied to all the immovable property having the purpose specified in this Item where such property is owned or being obtained by family members” of Paragraph 6 (wording of 21 December 2011; Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2011, No. 163-7742) of Article 7 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Immovable Property Tax is in conflict with Paragraph 1 of Article 29 and Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 38 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:              Elvyra Baltutytė

                                                                                   Vytautas Greičius

                                                                                   Danutė Jočienė

                                                                                   Pranas Kuconis

                                                                                   Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                   Vytas Milius

                                                                                   Egidijus Šileikis

                                                                                   Algirdas Taminskas

                                                                                   Dainius Žalimas