MADRID – The government of Spain is finalising a royal decree that obliges every one, all companies, self-employed, and advisers to communicate with the tax authorities electronically.
The Ministry of Finance is preparing to impose electronic communication as the only way for companies and entrepreneurs to contact the tax authorities and vice versa. Furthermore, the text of the Royal Decree has been drawn up by the Collection Department of the Tax Authorities. It points to the “clear will of the legislator to introduce a general regime” of citizens’ electronic relations with public authorities in general and with the tax authorities in particular.
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The draft law 39/2015 of the common administrative procedure of public administrations establishes the right to an electronic relationship with the administration. Moreover, this is imposed as an obligation on legal entities; unincorporated entities; those engaged in a professional activity requiring compulsory membership, including notaries and real estate and commercial registers; those who represent a debtor, and officials.
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The law also authorised government administrations to determine which electronic medium is preferred for which procedure or for specific groups of persons or companies. Now, however, the tax authorities are preparing to extend this obligation to all business and professional contacts with the recipient of funds for the Treasury.
In this regard, the government also underlines the strong development of the technological reporting tools and their effectiveness in processes “which;
- require immediate and rapid development
- are enormous in scope as they affect a multitude of taxpayers
- require high-capacity information management and structuring”
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Consequently, the Royal Decree will lay down the obligation to receive communications and notifications from the various departments of the Tax Authorities electronically.
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Furthermore, the draft will be submitted for public consultation by the end of this month. Moreover, this is to gather possible arguments to modulate the text. The text can then be approved in July.
Criticism from the Spanish Association of Tax Advisers
The government’s intention to impose electronic communication with the tax authorities on all entrepreneurs in the country has been received very critically by the Spanish Association of Tax Advisers (Aedaf). Consequently, it plans to present arguments to try to modify the original text.
“It means making the exception the norm,” denounced Esaú Alarcón, a member of Aedaf’s advisory board. Furthermore, he described the ministry’s approach as “shameful”. The legislation, he says, has already imposed electronic notices on commercial companies, government officials, and certain registered professionals. These include lawyers, architects, doctors, veterinarians, dentists, notaries, and clerks.
Alarcón further warns that the new royal decree extends the practice to all independent professionals and self-employed. But it also includes anyone who appears in the census to teach a class or conference, or who rents property.
Entrepreneurs with few resources
“The big paradox is that it will affect those burdened by the objective estimation of modules,” Alarcón adds. This objective estimation of modules was introduced in the 1980s as a system for entrepreneurs with few resources. However, they will now be forced to relate electronically to the tax authorities.
“Without knowing whether they have the resources, the bill forces these entrepreneurs to keep an eye on their mailbox for electronic notifications” from the Tax Authorities if they do not want to miss a relevant tax report. “If the rule is approved in these terms, it should be challenged,” concludes the member of Aedaf’s Institutional Advisory Board.