59441/13, SZÉKELY v. WĘGRY - Decyzja Europejskiego Trybunału Praw Człowieka
Decyzja Europejskiego Trybunału Praw Człowieka z dnia 12 czerwca 2018 r. 59441/13
Application no. 59441/13
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 12 June 2018 as a Committee composed of:
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque, President,
Iulia Motoc, judges,
and Andrea Tamietti, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 9 September 2013,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
1. The applicant, Mr Attila Székely, is a Hungarian national, who was born in 1965 and lives in Budapest. He was represented before the Court by Mr L.P. Farkas, a lawyer practising in Budapest.
2. The Hungarian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr Z. Tallódi, Agent at the Ministry of Justice.
3. The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
4. The applicant was employed at the Hungarian National Bank from 1 July 2002 until 11 June 2013. A certain part of his severance payment was taxed at 98% in the amount of 2,981,286 Hungarian forints (HUF) (approximately 9,900 euros (EUR)).
5. Due to subsequent amendments of the relevant legislation, the tax rates applicable to the applicant's severance payment changed retroactively.
6. Relying on the amended legislation, on 26 August 2014 the applicant filed with the National Tax Authority a self-revision in which he applied for a retroactive reduction of his tax liability.
7. Upon his self-revision, on 23 February 2015 the National Tax Authority found that, instead of the 98% rate special tax, the relevant part of the applicant's severance payment was subject to a flat-rate public charge of 75% in the amount of HUF 2,281,597 (approximately EUR 7,600). Therefore, the applicant was reimbursed HUF 699,689 (approximately EUR 2,300) by the National Tax Authority.
8. The applicant complained under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention that the tax rates applied to his severance pay amounted to an unjustified deprivation of property.
9. The applicant complained about the levying of the special tax on part of his severance payment. He relied on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, which provides as follows:
"Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
10. The Government submitted that the applicant had failed to inform the Court of an important development in the case, namely, that the tax authority had cancelled his 98% special tax liability and applied instead a 75% rate flat-rate public charge. As a consequence, a substantial amount of money had been reimbursed to him, reducing the pecuniary loss sustained (see paragraph 7 above).
11. In his observations in reply received by the Court on 24 May 2017, the applicant did not deny the reimbursement, but stressed that the National Tax Authority had never invited him to give a statement as to whether any international remedy proceedings were pending or closed in relation to his special tax liability.
12. The Court notes that where important developments occur during the proceedings pending before the Court and, despite his obligation prescribed in the Rules of Procedure, the applicant fails to inform the Court thereof, thus preventing the Court from determining the case in full knowledge of the facts, the application may be dismissed for abuse of right (see Hadrabová and Others v. the Czech Republic (dec.), nos. 42165/02 and 466/03, 25 September 2007; Predescu v. Romania, no. 21447/03, §§ 25-27, 2 December 2008; see also Gatto v. Italy, (dec.) no. 19424/08, § 29, 8 March 2016, and the authorities cited therein).
13. In the present case, the applicant has not furnished any plausible explanation for his failure to inform the Court of the change of the tax regime and the resultant reimbursement. The Court notes that the national authorities' failure to invite the applicant to give a statement about his application before the Court did not justify his omission to inform the Court about the relevant developments of his case.
14. Having regard to the importance of the information at issue for the proper determination of the case, the Court finds that the applicant's conduct was contrary to the purpose of the right of individual petition, as provided for in Article 34 of the Convention. This application must therefore be rejected as an abuse of the right of application pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 (a) and 4 of the Convention.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,
Declares the application inadmissible.
Done in English and notified in writing on 5 July 2018.
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque