Tax 26. March 2020

Spain: Periods of administrative suspension and their extent

26. March 2020
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Paula Caro
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act legal Spain

Since the publication of Royal Decree 463/2020, of 14 March, declaring the state of alarm to manage the health crisis caused by COVID-19 (“RD 463/2020″), these past few days have been marked by a debate regarding the interpretation of its third additional provision, by which “the terms and deadlines to process procedures by public sector entities are suspended or interrupted”.

The debate focused on the scope of this suspension (i.e., if its effects were applicable to deadlines linked to fiscal obligations, such as the filing of tax returns or the payment of debts settled by the Tax Authorities).

The matter has already been resolved by Royal Decree 465/2020, of 17 March, modifying Royal Decree 463/2020, of 14 March, declaring the state of alarm to manage the health crisis caused by COVID-19 (“RD 465/2020″), which adds the following new content to the aforementioned third additional provision:

“6. The suspension of the terms and the interruption of the administrative deadlines mentioned in paragraph 1 will not be applicable to tax periods, which are subject to special regulations, and shall not alter the deadlines set for the submittal of tax returns and self-assessments.”

As a result, it is obvious that the suspension or cancellation of deadlines brought by the state of alarm (RD 463/2020) is not applicable to the periods established for the submittal of tax returns and self-assessments (despite parties having the right to request their postponement, as detailed further on).

Notwithstanding the Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of 17 March, on extraordinary urgent measures to face the economic and social impact of COVID-19 (“ RDL 8/2020″) does include a whole section on the suspension and/or extension of tax-related deadlines, which we shall analyze below.

Suspension and extension of fiscal-related deadlines

First of all, it is worth noting that RDL 8/2020 entered into force on 18 March 2020 for a period of one month.

Article 33 RDL 8/2020 regulates some events links to the suspension or extension of tax-related deadlines and renders them more flexible, as summarized below:

A. The following terms are extended until 30 April 2020, provided they had launched before RDL 8/2020 entered into force (18 March 2020) and had not expired by then:

  • The terms for tax collection related to liquidations (ii) during the voluntary period, and (ii) during the enforcement period, once orders for recovery were sent.
  • The expiry of full and partial terms on deferment and fractioning agreements already concluded.
  • Terms related to auctions and foreclosure of assets.
  • The periods to comply with court orders, enforcement proceedings or requests for information with tax significance, to lodge pledgings in any actions or proceedings for the enforcement of tax-related matters, sanctions, nullity statements, the return of sums unduly paid, and to correct revocation and material errors.
  • When it comes to orders for recovery, between 18 March and 30 April 2020 no collateral enforcements involving property will be carried out.

B. The following terms are extended until 20 May 2020, provided they are notified at a later date than that in which RDL 8/2020 entered into force (and unless the deadlines that appear in the regulations are broader, in which case the latter shall apply):

  • The terms for tax collection related to liquidations (ii) during the voluntary period, and (ii) during the enforcement period, once orders for recovery were sent.
  • The expiry of full and partial terms on deferment and fractioning agreements already concluded.
  • Terms related to auctions and foreclosure of assets.
  • The periods to comply with court orders, enforcement proceedings, information requests or opening acts involving allegations or hearing procedures.

C. In addition, article 33 also contains the following provisions that are worth mentioning:

  • The taxpayer can meet the abovementioned obligations (i.e. court orders, requests for information with tax significance, allegations) within the initial deadline set, in which case these formalities will be deemed performed.
  • The special terms and deadlines under custom regulations to lodge pleadings and comply with court orders remain untouched.
  • The period ranging between 18 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 will not be taken into account:

    When calculating the maximum duration of tax application procedures, sanctions or reviews launched by the Spanish Tax Agency. However, the latter may order, prescribe, and carry out any essential formalities during the aforementioned period.

    When it comes to the prescription periods for Administration and taxpayer rights, including limitation periods.
  • With the sole intent of calculating the prescription periods in appeals for reversal and economic-administrative proceedings, final resolutions will be deemed notified when an attempt to deliver them between 18 March and 30 April is duly accredited.

    The period to lodge appeals or claims of an economic-administrative nature involving taxes, as well as to appeal (through administrative channels) the decisions adopted in economic-administrative proceedings, will not start until the abovementioned term is over (or until the relevant notification is sent, provided this is of a later date).
  • In accordance with the criteria followed by the Spanish Tax Agency, if the act or resolution was notified before RD 463/2020 entered into force (14 March 2020), and the deadline to lodge an appeal or claim was not over on that date, the period to lodge an economic-administrative claim or appeal will be one month from 1 May 2020 (or from the day following the end of the state of alarm, whichever is later).
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Paula Caro
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act legal - DA Lawyers
About the author

Paula Caro

Partner

Paula is specialized in the continuous advice of large companies, national and foreign, mainly in relation to the Corporate Tax and the Value Added Tax (Spanish and community regulations); International taxation; Business reorganization of large Spanish companies, and planning and advice to great wealths. Likewise, advises private clients on their tax obligations, facilitating an optimal structure of their assets. Likewise, Paula has extensive experience in assisting and defending her clients before investigation and verification actions carried out by the Tax Administration, in all administrative and judicial instances.

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