After many years defending our clients, in our firm we have conclude that, although there is an element of chance and sectorial reviews, there are reasons why the tax authorities can “decide to initiate a tax control”, for instance:
- The tax administration has a large database to compare with, so it is easy to detect an important number of deductible expenses and launch an inspection to verify the accuracy and correspondence.
- In the event of making monthly VAT refunds requests.
- If an intra-community VAT number is required to allow VAT exempt operations within the European Union, due to the high level of VAT fraud within the European Union.
- Due to the Tax Authority State Agency’s (AEAT) computer system in the event of forgetting or failing to submit an obligatory form.
- Mistakes or incoherencies between the trimestral and the annual declarations and that have not been previously corrected.
However, if the tax inspection has already happened, what is it possible to do?
- It is obligatory to enable the inspector access to the premises if he has a court order. In any case, we recommend that your lawyer or tax advisor is present.
- You must cooperate as far as possible if the agents wish to use the company’s computers, and especially the ones in the office.
- You must provide all the documents with tax implication, such as accounting books, computer files, auxiliary books, programs, and invoices of non-prescribed fiscal.
- It is customary to authorize the inspector to make copies of documents or hard drives, except in the case of confidential or personal data.
To resume, a spirit of collaboration avoids sanctions for “hindering” the work of the inspection.
But you need to know that the law is protecting us, for instance:
- The inspection must come with a written authorization from the Tax Agency (Agencia Tributaria) of the region or fiscal domicile. Even with this authorization, access can be denied, and a court order can be requested if necessary.
- The private domicile is inviolable according to the Spanish Constitution and therefore, a court order is required to carry out checks on the domicile if the self-employed person/company carries out its activities there.
- The inspector’s documentation and identification can be requested.
- The inspection must be done during office hours.
- Regarding the controversial topic of accessing safe deposit boxes, locked drawers, or any other container likely to contain confidential documents that may violate your privacy, it is possible to object. The right to inviolability of correspondence and the right not to testify against oneself must also be respected. To carry out such searches, an authorization in the form of a court order is required.
In short, you need to be serious, calm and professional, because at the end, the inspector must do its work according to the law, to avoid errors of forms. Tthis not with an excess of kindness that the sanction will be avoided, but you must not be hostile either. It is the job of the professionals in this field to defend you with all the legal arguments at their disposal In conclusion, if you find yourself in this situation, stay calm and contact us as soon as possible.
Félix de la Guía – Tax lawyer