Even the tax authority must meet deadlines
Not only taxpayers but also tax administrators must keep an eye on deadlines. There are lapse periods, after which it is no longer possible to take action and decisions issued by the tax administrator after the expiry of such time limits are unlawful. And there are procedural time limits, which, if not complied with, do not expose the tax administrator to the risk of unlawful decisions. How to understand the deadlines and how to defend against the tax administrator's failure to comply with them?
The most important lapse period for the tax authorities is the deadline for assessing tax, which is three years from the date on which the taxpayer's deadline for filing a proper tax return expired or the tax became due (without there being a concurrent obligation to file an ordinary tax assertion). This period may be extended in certain circumstances; however, it always ends no later than 10 years after its commencement. A decision on the assessment of tax issued later is unlawful and can be challenged via an action filed with administrative courts.
Procedural time limits for tax administrators are set either directly by the Tax Procedure Code (e.g., a 30-day time limit for issuing a decision on a request for tax deferment) or the Ministry of Finance’s Internal Instruction No. MF-5. The instruction specifies the time limits for the processing of the most common types of submissions and the conditions for suspending or extending these time limits, e.g., a six-month time limit for the processing of an appeal by the appeal authority or a six-month time limit for a decision on the waiver of tax and its accessories. Although failure to comply with the procedural time limit does not result in the unlawfulness of the decision, taxpayers can defend themselves against delays and hold-ups caused by the tax administrator. If the tax administrator fails to take action within the time limit set by law or within the period that is customary for taking such action, it is possible to file a complaint of inaction with the nearest superior tax administrator. That authority will examine the complaint and will either order the tax authority to remedy the situation or inform you why it considers the complaint inappropriate, within a maximum of 30 days.
The tax administrator's deadlines and defence options will be discussed in more detail in subsequent issues of the Tax and Legal Update.