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Derechos del consumidor

OCU launches a campaign against unfair penalties issued by the Tax Authority

15 sep. 2016

Every year, hundreds of thousands of tax payers are fined by the various Spanish Tax Administrations. OCU has confirmed that many of these fines do not fulfil the obligation placed on the Tax Authority of proving the tax payer is indeed guilty and a real infraction has occurred. Moreover, these unfair penalties do not fulfil the legal requirements. For all these reasons, OCU has launched a campaign against unfair tax fines via its website:

OCU points out the fact that the Law states that when a tax payer fails to fulfil a tax obligation, the Administration may impose a fine in addition to requiring the fulfilment of said obligation when an infraction does indeed occur. In the majority of the cases, the Administrations, the Tax Authority in this instance, simply notifies the individual of the fine without informing them exactly what the negligence or fraud entailed is or proving the guilt of the tax payer. This fact leads to penalties being imposed automatically without taking each individual’s personal circumstances into consideration or, for example, presenting the complementary documentation. These penalties do not comply with the current regulations since they do not prove the tax payer’s guilt and have been found to be unfair by various Courts of Justice, including the Supreme Court.

OCU denounces the lack of transparency with regards to the information about tax penalties. In the case of the Tax Authority, this administration does not make the number of sanctions issued during the fiscal year, their nature or their amount public thus impeding the ability to determine the number of tax payers affected each year. OCU requested this information from the Tax Authority. Nevertheless, they limited themselves to referencing the 2013 Tax Authority Report. According to this report, 159 million Euros were collected in 2011 for all sanctions. With regard to only Personal Income Tax, the overall results from the 2011 Personal Income Tax verification campaign included 520.1 million Euros in parallel income and the tax adjustment of 499,683 tax payers. This information implies a tax adjustment of 1,040 Euros per tax payer and an average fine of 520 Euros.

For citizens, receiving an unfair sanction by the Tax Authority implies a serious economic hardship in the majority of the cases. Many are not aware of their right to appeal nor how to do so. For this reason, OCU is making a free "guide to appealing tax penalties" available to those individuals who have been affected by an unfair fines so they can properly defend their rights.

This guide can be accessed via the website: Additionally, OCU requests the collaboration of citizens in order to demand the Tax Authority to refrain from automatically imposing penalties and to fulfil their obligation of proving tax payer guilt and the intention to commit fraud.

For more information, please contact Eva Jiménez(media). Telephone: 917226061