Need more time to respond to tax authorities? Apply for deadline extension
Imagine a tax administrator's notice arrives in your data box. The deadline is insufficient, and you are rightly concerned that you will not be able to prepare your standpoint and collect the necessary documents in time. The Tax Procedure Code takes these situations into account and allows you to extend the deadline. How does the extension of deadlines set by the tax authority work in practice?
If the deadline set by the tax administrator for proving certain facts or providing selected supporting documentation is insufficient, taxpayers can apply for an extension, and should do so without delay. The tax administrator is legally obliged to extend the deadline by no less than the period which remains, on the day when the application is filed, from the time limit the extension of which is requested. In practice, this means that if the taxpayer submits the extension application on the day they receive the tax administrator's notice, it will effectively extend the deadline to twice the original deadline.
Taxpayers are legally entitled to an extension of the deadline if it is their first request for an extension in the particular case. The period of extension the taxpayer may apply for is not limited by the above rule: the taxpayer may apply for an extension longer than the statutory one, but such an extension is not legally claimable and the result is entirely dependent on the tax administrator’s discretion. Similarly, the tax administrator may grant a repeated request for an extension, even though such an extension is no longer legally claimable.
However, deadlines may only be extended where they have been set by the tax administrator; those prescribed directly by the Tax Procedure Code or another tax law (such as the deadline for filing a tax return or the deadline for filing an appeal) may not be extended. The statutory deadline may only be extended where permitted by law.
There is no special form for this type of request. It is sufficient if it is clear who is making the request, to whom it is being submitted, and what the subject of the request is, i.e. until when the taxpayer is requesting an extension of the original deadline. Attention should be paid to a proper justification / statement of grounds of the application, in particular when requesting an extension beyond the statutory entitlement or when requesting an extension repeatedly.
The tax administrator may respond to the application by issuing a decision to extend the deadline. In practice, however, it often happens that the tax administrator does not decide on the request at all. Under the Tax Procedure Code, if the tax administrator does not issue a decision within 30 days of receiving the request, it means that the request has been granted. So, silence here means consent. It is nonetheless advisable to contact the tax administrator informally and confirm their position to avoid any further uncertainty.
An application for an extension of the deadline thus represents an effective and welcome procedural tool that can be used by taxpayers to satisfy the tax administrator’s requirements properly and in time, without violating their duties. Please note that if a taxpayer decides to apply for an extension of the deadline in the course of proceedings before tax administrator, the tax administrator may not consider this request an obstruction and deny it, not even where an extension of the deadline would result in the expiry of the statutory deadline for assessing tax. But more on that another time.