New Taxpayer's Statute: 'strengthened motivation' of tax act

Legislative Decree No. 219 of 30 December 2023 makes substantial amendments to the Taxpayer's Statute (Law No. 212/2000). Infact, it has been established that the Tax Authority must motivate the tax assessment act with reference to the observations made by the taxpayer, specifying the reasons for not accepting them.

The discipline on the administrative hearing with the Tax Authority will thus be fully set forth in Article 6-bis of the Statute. In fact, the Article provides that the Tax Authority will have to hear the taxpayer's observations before the serving of any tax act. This duty will not apply only to certain types of tax acts, which have a predominantly liquidating function or which are issued on an urgent basis, and which will be specifically identified by a decree of the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The administrative hearing will begin with the Tax Authority's notification of a draft of the tax act. The taxpayer will have 60 days to submit his observations (including by filing a memorandum) or to access the file of the proceedings. Since the Tax Authority has a maximum time limit to notify the tax act (e.g. the deed of assessment for corporate tax must be notified by 31 December of the 5th year following the filing of the tax return), Article 6-bis provides that if the draft tax act is notified close to this deadline, the deadline for the notification of the final tax act is postponed by 120 days from the expiration of the aforementioned 60 days; this is to ensure the conduct of the administrative hearing.

As mentioned above, in the final tax act the Tax Authority will have to include a reasoning that takes into account the observations provided by the taxpayer in the administrative hearing, since if it does not agree with the taxpayer's line of defence, it must specify the reason why it considers deviating from it.

The obligation to provide such “strengthened motivation” (“motivazione rafforzata”), if not fulfilled, leads to the invalidity of the tax act, which can be invoked before the Tax Court to have the tax act annulled in its entirety.