The Spanish legislation protects the rights interests of the taxpayers in the so called administrative-economic jurisdiction (“via económico-administrativa”), a kind of administrative courts depending of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (“Ministerio Ecopomía Hacienda”). That means that these courts are no popper judicial review as they depend from the administration but have as main finality the defence of the interests of the taxpayer against the acts and taxes assessed by the Spanish Tax Authorities. If you do not agree with one decision from the tax authorities you can claim before the Finance Courts or economic-administrative courts (the the “tribunales economico-administrativos”) which are divided in:
– the Central Finance Court or central economic-administrative court ( “tribunal economico-administrativo central” or TEAC),
– the Regional Finance Courts or regional economic-administrative courts (“tribunales economico-administrativo regionales ” or TEAR ) and,
– the “tribunales economico-administrativo locales” TEAL (local economic-administrative courts).
The jurisdiction of said Courts is: TEAC is responsible for claims to the central tax authority and for appeals to TEAR or TEAL regarding tax assessments of more than 150,000€, or when the taxable base amount is more than 1,800,000€, whereas TEAR and TEAL are responsible for claims to the regional or local tax authorities. Normally by filing payment shall be done or any kind of guarantee must be presented to the Court unless the tax debt is under 30.000€. Sanctions related with tax debts might be suspended automatically in any case no matter the amount.
For launching claim before Finance Court there is a timeframe of one calendar month as from the day after receiving the notification of the tax authorities. The Finance Court has one calendar year to issue court resolution resolving the claim. However, this normally does not happen as the court takes always much longer to decide so that the taxpayer has two possibilities:
- Either assume and presume that as the court fail to reply within the stipulated time limit the claim might be regarded as rejected (the so called administrative silence or “silencio administrative”), so that an appeal in further jurisdictional instance might be-) filed (TEAC, or at the administrative judicial jurisdiction (via contencioso-administrativa), that means before proper Court and Magistrates belonging to the Justice administration and not to the Tax Administration as the former jurisdiction (“via económcio-administrativa”),
- Or two wait, normally 3 or 4 years till final decision of the Finance Court is issued
It is important to know that after 4 years if there is no tax resolution the tax debt is prescribed and you would have the right to claim the tax and interest paid or to get back from the tax authorities the expenses derived from the guarantee filed in order to suspend the tax execution.
In order to decide one or the other way we must know if our claim has really chances to be admitted then in this case is always better to wait instead of claiming in the next instance.
Solicitor & Tax Adviser
+34 627 41 32 01