New High Court ruling will force the Spanish Tax Authorities to be better behaved. Let’s say you are being treated by a doctor with a specific drug just before having been diagnosed properly. This is, at its core, the way in which the Hacienda (Spanish Tax Authorities) has been acting when it came to the Spanish “Silencio Administrativo”, frequently translated literally as “Administrative Silence”. In other words, Hacienda has been starting debt execution before ruling, if so, on the ongoing appeal.
Recently, the Spanish High Courts have affirmed in the Ruling number 586/2020, handed down on May 28, that in no way can Hacienda act against their debtors without having previously heard the appeals. It follows that “Silencio Administrativo” cannot be considered as a synonym of randomness, nor can appeals be seen as a simple way out to delay the procedure.
In this sense, Hacienda should definitely not impose a penalty just in case it was eventually required. That would entail a violation of the presumption of innocence based on the Spanish Constitution article 24 (one of our main fundamental rights) and even an alteration of the burden of proof.
We are not in the XIX century anymore, where authoritarian governments prevailed in an attempt to guarantee a strong Administration in the middle of different civil wars by raising as much money as possible. This has to change and this recent ruling of the Spanish High Courts will contribute a lot.
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By Marta Sánchez Merino, Legal Consultant at Del Canto Chambers
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