The current situation we are facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a number of tax-related problems when it comes to compliance with obligations involving both national and municipal taxes, as well as employment-related taxes and quasi-fiscal liabilities. These problems range from lack of access to the necessary accounting records up to problems encountered when trying to make the required payments.
This has given rise to discussions in a number of forums concerning the possibility of informing the different tax collection entities of the situation being faced by each taxpayer based on their individual circumstances. In this regard it is important to highlight the provisions to be found in both the Administrative Procedures Act and the Tax Code concerning the right to address inquiries to the different agencies and bodies of the national public administration.
For example, Article 2 of the Administrative Procedures Act reads as follows:
Any interested party may, on his own or through a representative, address a request or petition to any administrative agency, entity or authority. The latter must resolve the requests or petitions addressed to them or declare, when that is the case, their reasons for failing to do so.
In turn, Article 260 of the Tax Code states:
Anybody having a personal or direct interest may consult with the Tax Administration concerning the application of tax rules in the case of a specific situation. In this regard, the consulting party must state in clear and precise terms all the elements involved in the issue prompting the inquiry, and may express a reasoned opinion.
Both these articles are based on the right provided for in Article 51 of the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela which states that every citizen has the right to represent or address petitions to any government authority or official concerning matters within their jurisdiction. In addition, it also stipulates the right to receive and, thus, the duty of these agencies to provide a timely and proper response.
As we can see, asking questions is a right available not only to those who must pay a given tax but also to any citizen who finds that a right has been abridged or who has been prevented from complying with an obligation as a result of a given situation, such as the one we currently face.
In the case of taxes, upon asking a question the taxpayer becomes exempt from any penalties, as provided for in Article 264 of the Tax Code.
Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance regarding this or any other issue that might arise in connection with this pandemic and its legal effects in any field.