In the case of our client, the administrative court confirmed that the restoration of deadlines in tax law is not only permissible but even obligatory. It appears to be one of the most important judgments issued by Polish administrative courts in recent times.
According to the court in tax proceedings regarding the correctness of a taxpayer’s use of a 6-month deadline to report the acquisition of property or property rights to the competent head of the tax office, the tax authority is obliged – if a failure to meet the deadline for submission is identified – to enable the taxpayer to restore the deadline.
The basis for such a claim is Article 15zzzzzn of the Act of March 2, 2020, on special solutions related to preventing, combating, and combating COVID-19, other infectious diseases, and crises caused by them.
According to the court, in the event of a taxpayer’s failure during the state of epidemic declared due to COVID-19 in the period of performing actions shaping his rights and obligations, this provision imposes an obligation on the tax authority to:
- inform the taxpayer about this failure, and additionally
- designate a 30-day period for the taxpayer to submit a request for the restoration of the deadline.
This means that the tax authority has a normative obligation to enable the taxpayer to apply for the restoration of the deadline ex officio. Usually, the taxpayer (party to the proceedings) must independently initiate the appropriate procedure to take advantage of the possibility of restoring the deadline. This time, however, it is the opposite.
The state of epidemic was declared on March 20, 2020, and revoked on May 16, 2022. If the state of epidemic occurred during the expiration of the deadline for a particular taxpayer resulting from Article 4a(1)(1) of the Inheritance and Gift Tax Act, then the aforementioned Article 15zzzzzn of the Act of March 2, 2020, will apply. This provision also applies in the situation of a failure to meet deadlines arising from tax law. Based on this, it can be assumed that the possibility of restoring the deadline in the above manner also applies to other cases regulated by other tax laws.
The court pointed out that the interpretation conducted in the resolution of the Supreme Administrative Court under file no. I FPS 2/22 does not concern the above, especially since its reasoning stated that “when the legislator used the phrase ‘provided for by provisions of administrative law,’ understanding this provision in a way that puts the taxpayer at a disadvantage is inadmissible.” Therefore, both the normative and axiological context of the aforementioned resolution should be taken into account. Based on this, it can be assumed that the possibility of restoring the deadline in the above manner also applies to other cases regulated by other tax laws.
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