B Law & Tax
27 July 2023

Tax Advisor: The Supreme Court annuls the obligation to file Personal Income Tax return electronically

The Supreme Court has annulled the obligation imposed by the Ministry of Finance in March 2019, which required all IRPF taxpayers to file their Income Tax Return electronically. Following the ruling of July 11 of this year, taxpayers may choose to file their return on paper if they so wish, without being obliged to do so by telematic means. The Spanish Association of Tax Advisors (AEDAF) filed an appeal that was upheld by the Supreme Court, and declared the nullity of several articles of the ministerial order that established this general requirement without justifying specific cases related to economic or technical capacity, professional dedication or other reasons.

The ministerial order, applied from the 2018 tax year returns filed in 2019, eliminated the option of obtaining the return and its income or refund documents on paper through the draft/return processing service of the State Tax Administration Agency. The Supreme Court emphasizes that the General Tax Law grants the right, but not the obligation, to citizens to use electronic means, and establishes that the Administration has the responsibility to facilitate and promote their use. The Supreme Court emphasizes that while the Administration may encourage the adoption of electronic means, it cannot impose their mandatory use on citizens.

The Supreme Court holds that, by virtue of Article 96.2 of the law regulating the right of citizens to interact electronically with the Administration, it is not admissible to interpret the legal powers provided for in other articles of that law and of the Personal Income Tax legislation as “authorizing the Minister of Finance to impose a general obligation when Article 96.2 of the Law establishes a right”.

The Chamber indicates that the regulations of the Ministry of Finance should specify the particular characteristics or circumstances that distinguish certain taxpayers and that justify the need to impose on them the obligation to relate exclusively electronically, as opposed to the general group of taxpayers. In this way, the Supreme Court’s ruling contradicts the previous decision of the Audiencia Nacional, which did not support the request of the Spanish Association of Tax Advisors to annul the imposition of the obligation to file the Personal Income Tax return electronically.

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