Strengthening Taxpayer Guarantees and Simplifying Procedures
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Law 7/2021 was published on 26 February and it amends the General Tax Law, the Tax Procedure and Process Code, the General Rules on Tax Infringements, and some other legislative acts. The aim of the new law is to strengthen taxpayers' guarantees and to simplify procedures in tax matters.
The main measures established in the new law are:
General Tax Law
The law now provides that tax obligations whose due date ends in August may be fulfilled up to the last day of that month.
It also provides that, if the deadlines for taxpayers to do certain acts fall in the month of August, they will move to the first working day of the following month. This applies to acts in the main tax procedures, including administrative appeals, hierarchical appeals, ex-officio reviews, and recognition or revocation of tax benefits, among others. It also applies to the periods to provide informations and to exercise the right to a prior hearing in any procedures
During the month of August, the deadlines for the tax inspection procedure are also suspended.
Suspension of limitation periods
The new law also establishes that the limitation periods for tax debts will be suspended (i) while a judicial complaint against acts of the tax enforcement body is pending, when this makes it impossible to carry out coercive acts in the associated enforcement proceedings; and (ii) during the period in which, under the new automatic suspension for tax enforcement proceedings brought for tax debts of up to EUR 5000 for individuals and EUR 10,000 for companies, the enforcement proceedings are suspended pending presentation of the corresponding means of reaction.
Provision of tax forms
It is now clarified that the obligation to make the forms for Personal Income Tax (“IRS”) and Corporate Income Tax (“IRC”) tax returns available on the Portal das Finanças (the official website of the Portuguese Tax Authority), at least 120 days in advance, must be in a format that makes it possible to fill them in and submit them.
Payments with credit and debit cards
There was already obligation on credit institutions, financial companies and other entities providing payment services to communicate to the Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority (“Tax Authority”) the value of credit and debit card payments or other electronic means of payment made through them, without identifying in any way the clients of the payment orders. However, this will no longer be limited to payments made to taxpayers subject to Corporate Income Tax or earning income under Personal Income Tax Category B. It will now be provided for in general terms for all taxpayers.
The fee payable for the urgent provision of binding information will now be fixed at between 12.5 and 125 units of account (i.e., half its value), in the case of individuals earning a maximum annual income up to the upper limit of the fourth bracket of the Personal Income Tax scale. The same also applies in the case of micro, small and medium-sized companies. In these situations, the taxpayers must submit the document proving their certification as a micro, small or medium-sized company, or provide the Tax Authority with the authorisation necessary to check its status, requirements and income.
Provision is also made for the possibility of a special waiver or reduction of the urgency fee in cases where the taxable person requesting it meets the criteria of economic insufficiency defined for the granting of legal protection under the rules on access to justice. This special exemption or reduction will be regulated by a Ministerial Order by the Members of the Government responsible for the areas of finance and justice within 90 days.
Finally, the possibility of hearing the applicant before providing binding information is also established when this is requested in the application.
These changes to the binding information rules will come into force on 1 July 2021.
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