March 18 saw the publication in the Official State Gazette of Royal Decree-law 8/2020, of March 17, on urgent measures to tackle the economic and social effects of COVID-19, which is effective from the date of publication. We summarise the most relevant Tax measures of this Royal Decree-Law.
- Granting of powers for Customs clearance: The head of the Customs and Excise Department of the State Tax Agency may agree that the declaration procedure, and the customs clearance that it includes, be carried out by any body or official from the Customs and Excise Department. This measure will speed up imports and exports by allowing clearance to be carried out via existing IT applications, without any need for their modification by any body or official from the Customs and Excise Department.
- Suspension of tax deadlines: The deadlines for tax liabilities resulting from settlements performed by the Tax Agency are made more flexible:a) Submission periods that are already open but have not yet closed, as of the effective date of this royal decree-law, will be extended until 30 April 2020
b) Submission periods opening after the effective date of this measure are extended until 20 May 2020, unless the deadline under the general rule is later, in which case the latter will apply
This extension to submission periods will affect the following cases:
- Deadlines for payment of tax liabilities resulting from settlements performed by the Agency (during the voluntary and enforced period),
- The end of periods and instalments corresponding to deferment and instalment agreements granted,
- Periods relating to tendering processes and the awarding of assets,
- Periods for responding to inquiries, seizure proceedings, and tax-related information requests; for making opening arguments or declarations in application procedures for taxes or hearings.
- In case (a) above, this suspension shall also affect sanctioning procedures or procedures to declare a decision null and void, refunding of undue payments, rectification of material errors, and revocation.
- In addition, within the enforcement procedure, no guarantees relating to real estate shall be enforced from the effective date of this royal decree-law until 30 April 2020.
- The deadlines for responding to inquiries and information requests made by the Directorate General for Cadastre for response periods which are open as of the effective date of this royal decree-law are extended until 30 April 2020.
If the taxpayer, despite the possibility of taking advantage of the extension of the deadlines in the preceding paragraphs, or without expressly reserving this right, responds to the inquiry or tax-related information request, or makes declarations, the procedure shall be considered complete.
Cases not affected by the approved suspension of deadlines:
- The payment of tax liabilities resulting from self-assessment, which must be paid within the deadlines established by the applicable regulations for each tax.
- The payment of customs and tax liabilities arising from foreign trade operations must be paid within the time limit established by its own regulations. Nor will it affect the specifics provided for in customs regulations regarding periods for making declarations and responding to inquiries.
- The payment of liabilities to be paid by means of stamped bills of exchange
- The deadline for filing tax returns and self-assessments
Other effects of the period beginning on the effective date of this royal decree-law and ending 30 April 2020. This period will not be taken into account for the following purposes:
- The maximum duration of application procedures for taxes, sanctioning procedures, and reviews processed by the Tax Agency, although during this period the Agency may instigate, order and perform essential procedures.
- Calculating the limitation periods established in Article 66 of Act 58/2003 of December 17, General Tax, or for the expiry dates. In the appeal for reversal and in economic-administrative procedures, the final decisions shall be understood to have been issued when there is evidence of an attempt to issue notification of the decision between the effective date of this Royal Decree-Law and 30 April 2020. The period for lodging economic-administrative appeals or claims against tax actions, as well as for appealing through administrative channels against decisions issued in economic-administrative proceedings, shall not commence until the end of the previously established period, or until notification has been issued under the terms of Section Three of Chapter II of Title III of Act 58/2003, of December 17, on General Tax, if the latter has taken place after that time.
- When calculating the maximum duration of procedures officially initiated by the Directorate General for Cadastre, although during this period the Agency may instigate, order and perform essential procedures.
- Amendment to the revised text of the Law on Transfer Tax and Stamp Duty approved by Royal Legislative Decree 1/1993 of September 24.
A new point number 23 is added to Article 45.I.B) of the revised text of the previously mentioned law, to establish that deeds formalising contractual novations of loans and mortgage credits carried out within the scope of the Royal Decree-Law will be exempt from the gradual instalments applicable to deeds and document duties in accordance with the Law on Transfer Tax and Stamp Duty.