As already anticipated with the Circular of the Finance Police No. 73943 of 11 March, the Financial Administration, with the communication of 12 March, officially announced the suspension of the activities of liquidation, control, assessment, access, inspections and checks, collection and tax litigation.
With the publication of the Italian Care Decree Law, which took place on 17 March, the suspension from 8 March to 31 May 2020 of the above activities by the Offices of the tax authorities was confirmed by legislation, as expressly provided for by art. 67 of the above mentioned provision.
In addition to this, the legislator, in art. 83 of the Decree, ordered the suspension of proceedings before the Tax Commissions in the period from 9 March to 15 April 2020 and, in addition to this, decreed the suspension of the procedural deadlines for the lodging of the appeal as well as those for the submission of the request for complaint and/or mediation.
The introduction of these regulatory provisions, however, has generated doubts about the coordination between the "emergency" suspension provided for in the aforementioned Article 83 and the ordinary suspension provided for in the event of the submission of the request for assessment with adherence found in Article 6 of Legislative Decree no. 218/1997.
Ordinarily, the taxpayer against whom a notice of assessment or rectification has been served may, with a free paper application, make a proposal for an assessment with acceptance. The submission of the aforesaid petition suspends the terms for the submission of the appeal (i.e. sixty days from the notification of the notice) for a period of ninety days.
In order to clarify the possible cumulation between "ordinary" and "emergency" suspension, the Inland Revenue intervened with Circular no. 6/E/2020 of 23 March.
The document of practice cited above acknowledges the favourable position of the tax authorities to recognize the two periods of suspension as cumulative and this because, according to the Agency, the suspension governed by the Care Italy Decree responds to the rationale of avoiding any physical movement by taxpayers or their representatives as well as employees of the same Agency. For this reason, it would be unfair, precisely because of the priority need to protect the health of those involved, not to grant the aforesaid cumulation of the terms of suspension de quibus.
However, the Administration grants the possibility to carry out the assessment procedure with adhesion by indicating alternative "remote" management procedures made necessary by the period we are living. These procedures allow the taxpayer to communicate with the Administration by videoconference for the conduct of the adversarial proceedings and to define the assessment by exchanging files (also digitally signed) via certified e-mail.
Once the agreement has been reached, the procedure will be final and the taxpayer will only have to pay the amount indicated in the assessment with adhesion, enjoying the reduction of the penalties by 1/3.
In this regard, the document in question makes a not insignificant clarification: ordinarily, the term for the payment of the amounts indicated in the deed of assessment with adherence is twenty days from the drafting of the same. However, the Circular excluded that this term could be affected by the suspension provided for by art. 68 of the Care Italy Decree for payments due from 8 March to 31 May 2020.
This approach, although criticized by some, seems to be in line with what was already stated in the previous Circular no. 5/E/2020 concerning the scope of application of the aforementioned art. 68. In this regard, in fact, the Agency has clarified that the acts to which the provision refers are exclusively those already entrusted to the collection agent, excluding, for that reason, that the acts indicated in Article 68 may include, in fact, the notices of assessment which can be defined in accession.
That said, therefore, leads to the exclusion that payments (even in instalments) resulting from assessments defined before the issuance of the Decree can enjoy the suspension provided for in Article 68.