According to law 4714/2020 article 16, a new Committee has been formed to settle pending tax cases before competent Tax courts and the Council of State through a fast-track procedure. Pursuant to the above provision, the ministerial decree 127519/2020 (gov. gazette [ΦΕΚ] Β’ 4939/9-11-2020) addresses all the required specifications concerning the settlement of a case before the Committee.
Eligible cases and disputes
The Committee is competent to settle tax disputes that are:
- Pending and not yet heard before the Competent Administrative Courts or the Council of State until the 30th of October 2020.
- Pending before the Tax Dispute Resolution Tribunal until the 30th of October 2020 and only if they are pending before the Competent Administrative Court no later than the 31st of December 2021.
The cases shall be filed until the 31st of December 2020 whilst the Committees Resolution shall be issued by July 31st, 2021. Despite any other general or specific provision, the request shall not be considered tacitly overruled before the abovementioned date. Even though extension of the deadlines is legitimate, the ministerial decree does not provide for such extensions.
Which arguments and claims are considered eligible?
By way of derogation to any arguments and claims raised before the Competent Court, the Committee is eligible to decide only the specific issues listed below:
- Tax statute of limitation due to lapse of time for proper tax imputation
- Tax statute of limitation due to tax certificate issuance
- Tax disputes due to obvious misunderstanding or arithmetic error.
- Retroactivity of tax law or provision
- Reduction of fines, penalties, or interests of tax debts.
The procedure of filing
The taxpayer or his proxy shall be authorized via the Committee’s website(eefdd.gr). The application form, signed by a lawyer, shall briefly mention the legal arguments. Arguments that are not in the eligibility list are overruled. If the arguments presented only concern reduction of fines, penalties and interests of the debt, the application is automatically approved.
The applicant shall also adduce:
- Tax audit reports and relevant tax papers
- Any application filed before the Tax Dispute Tribunal concerning the specific case
- Any legal paperwork, Minutes of the Courts and decisions concerning the specific case
- Certificate form the Court’s Secretariat proving that the case has not yet been heard.
- Power of Attorney legally signed and validated.
- Signed affirmation concerning the validity of the credentials and personal information declared on the Committee’s website.
- Filing the request automatically suspends the case pending before the competent Court. Suspension does not affect any temporary Court decision or security measure.
Issuance of the Resolution
The Committee firsts decides on the request’s admissibility (eligibility, paperwork, deadline). Next, the Committee examines the validity of the arguments based on the jurisprudence and the Tax Authority’s policy.
If needed the Committee can ask for additional supporting documents that must be filed within a period of 10 days.
The Committee shall decide fully and justify the request’s acceptance or rejection (partial or full). The decision is sent to the applicant according to the delivery provisions. (art. 5 ΚΦΔ).
Resolution acceptance – Debt payment
Not later than 5 days after receiving the Resolution, the applicant shall sign in acceptance of the Resolution. Partial acceptance is not possible. Acceptance after the set date is inadmissible.
After the acceptance, the Resolution constitutes an enforcement title. No appeals or other means can be filled against the Resolution. The suspended case before the competent Court is withdrawn.
Within a period of 5 days the taxpayer shall pay 30% of the debt, excluding any interest, fines, or penalties. The rest shall be paid in monthly installments without any interest for a two-year grace period.
If any of the abovementioned does not apply, the suspension of the case is raised so that a hearing can be determined before the Competent Court.
Reductions of penalties, fines and interests
Τhe fines, penalties or interests applicable on the main tax debt (excluding the 30% already paid within the first 5 days as mentioned above) are re-calculated depending on the number of monthly installments chosen, as follows:
|Number of installments||Reduction (%)|
The Committee is expected to address a huge number of pending tax disputes concerning legal arguments that have already been heard numerous times at the Courts and the Council of State.
On the positive side, the whole procedure seems to be quite fast and flexible since it is completed without live hearings. Also, this new system shows promise for increasing public revenue as well as for the reducing fines, penalties, and interests in favor of the taxpayers’ pockets. Not least, the two-year interest free period and the possibility of keep into force any temporary measures are also considered a huge plus.
On the other hand, the loads of paperwork and supporting documents that the applicant shall adduce to the Committee can be taxing, especially given that all these documents could easily be gathered by the Committee itself. Finally, the time frame is perhaps tight given the current circumstances and the new routines caused by the pandemic.