Can the police hand over CCTV footage to the tax office?

24 April 2023

Petr Vondraš, Senior Manager |

At the end of March, the media reported that the Constitutional Court had overturned a Supreme Administrative Court ruling that dealt with the obligation of the Police of the Czech Republic to provide CCTV footage for the purposes of tax proceedings. The case concerned a claim for a deduction for the purchase of a car, which the taxpayer had documented with a journey logbook. The tax authority compared this journey logbook with the data it had requested from the Police of the Czech Republic under Section 57 of the Tax Code and found that, according to the CCTV footage, the vehicle was moving in a different direction from that indicated in the journey logbook.

In a July 2022 judgment, the Supreme Administrative Court stated that data on the movement of the vehicle was necessary for tax administration and the tax authority could not obtain it from its own records. The records in question were not made primarily for the purposes of the tax proceedings, but existing records made by the Police of the Czech Republic for their own activities were used for them. At the same time, the tax authority approached the police only after it had received the journey logbook from the complainant, which, however, did not appear credible because of the date of the first journey, which preceded the complainant's purchase of the vehicle. Therefore, the Supreme Administrative Court did not find fault with the fact that the Police of the Czech Republic had provided the tax authority with those records and dismissed the appeal against the judgment of the Regional Court, which had seen it the same way. By a ruling of the Constitutional Court IV. ÚS 2621/22 in February, the aforementioned judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court was annulled.

In its ruling overturning the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court, the Constitutional Court did not comment on whether the police were entitled to release the CCTV footage. The Constitutional Court annulled the judgment on the grounds that, in its opinion, the Supreme Administrative Court had failed to respond to the complainant's objections and thus violated their fundamental right to judicial protection guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. The objection on which the appeal was based was that the processing of information on the movement of a particular vehicle at a particular time and on a particular road for the tax authority did not comply with the Police Act. The Constitutional Court accepted the logic of the complainant's reasoning, which was expressed in the appeal dismissed by the Supreme Administrative Court, that the police must, at the very least, have sorted the records into the form required by the tax authority and then handed over the information so processed to it.

The Supreme Administrative Court will thus again have to deal with the cassation complaint. After its new judgment, we will see whether the tax authority will be able to receive information on a "silver platter" in the form of the fact that vehicle XY passed on the road in question at 3:40 pm, then at 5:15 pm and the next day at 8:00 am, or whether the tax authority can only receive a crude police record that it may check to determine whether the vehicle in question is or is not on the record. Or the Supreme Administrative Court may decide that it is not even possible to issue a crude police record for tax purposes, but this would negate its reasoning in the original judgment. My guess is it will agree to the release of only a crude police record, but we'll see.