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Informal communication with the tax administrator

Does the tax administrator write you emails? Do they call you? Although the Tax Procedure Code only regulates formal methods of communication (data box, letter mail, etc.), emails and phone calls are not uncommon, offering a flexible and faster way of communication between the taxpayer and the tax administrator. However, they are not without pitfalls during tax proceedings.

Informal communication by the tax administrator via telephone or email is not regulated in the Tax Procedure Code. The tax administrator uses this type of communication to speed up tax proceedings, often to request additional information to the filed tax returns, and within very short deadlines. How to respond to such requests?

We recommend that you respond to email and telephone requests for sending documents or explanations via a data box. Unlike email, data boxes offer evidence of what has been delivered and to whom. This does not rule out, for the sake of good relations, sending the same document to the official concerned also by email, with a note that you have sent a message with the identical content by data box. It is also necessary to consider the internal rules for sending sensitive data: do your policies allow sending such data by email? There is no universal recipe here, and specific circumstances must always be considered. However, in our opinion, communication via the data box should be a given.

And what if the tax administrator calls and does not ask for documents to be sent by email but just wants an explanation of something? We recommend paying special attention here. Each phone call with the tax administrator is usually recorded in an official memo in which the tax administrator notes who they spoke to and what they talked about. Such a phone call’s minutes are not sent to the other party for approval and are stored forever in the tax file.

Phone calls are also risky in that you never know who from your company the tax administrator may talk to. We know from experience that they sometimes call a person not fully informed of the issue. Aiming to comply, that person may provide incorrect or confidential information, which is then stored in writing as an official memo in the tax file. Its content can only be accessed upon request to inspect the file, and is quite difficult to defend against, as in practice you may often not even know that such an official memo exists.

What is the best way to respond in such a situation? Take time to reply, find out the necessary information internally, and send the response to the data box. We recommend that the information entered into your tax file be fully under your control. The solution is to modify your company’s internal rules concerning who can interact with the tax administrator on behalf of the taxpayer.  Others should refer to the authorised persons and leave the communication to them. This may effectively prevent the provision of incomplete or incorrect information.