The Supreme Court, examining the appeal of the Special Interdisciplinary Association of the Prefecture of Attica (EDSNA), which is the competent body for the management of solid waste in Attica, ruled that “the five-year deadline for certification of traffic fees is sufficient for the further and reasonable “rejecting the claims of the tax administration that asked for the 20-year limitation period based on the general article 249 of the Civil Code to apply, in the absence of an explicit mention in the legislation.
According to the reasoning of the Court (paragraph 6) “… twenty years cannot be regarded as a reasonable, consistent with the principle of proportionality, the duration of the statute of limitations for tax claims”. Also according to the Court ‘«the above provisions in view of the principle of legal certainty, which derives from the principle of the rule of law, have the meaning that a certificate of road tax in case of non-payment or reduced payment, as well as any fines due , can not fit after the lapse of five years from the end of the calendar year, for which they are due (cf. ΣτΕ 2656/2018) ».
This decision moves in the same spirit as with no. 1738/2017 decision of the Plenary Session of the Court which had ruled that the statute of limitations should have a reasonable duration, so that: a) it is possible to exercise effective control, but without encouraging the inaction of the competent administrative authorities, which encourages b) not to leave the administrators exposed to a long period of legal uncertainty or to be in danger of no longer being able, after a long period of time to adequately defend themselves against a relevant control, but also to deal with the resulting check this financial obligations.
It is pointed out that the limitation period of the traffic fees had been a field of dispute between the tax administration and the Ombudsman since May 2014.
At that time, the Ombudsman in a letter to the Ministry of Finance stressed that the requirement of the administration by the citizen to keep a record dating back to twenty years is abusive, while taxpayers carry the burden of proof, even in cases of omissions or errors financial services or credit institutions. However, the tax administration, despite the above intervention, did not change its attitude.
As pointed out by the attorney of EDSNA who handled the case, lawyer of Athens at the Supreme Court Mr. Vassilios Hatzigiannakis, now the tax administration is obliged to comply with the decision of the SC which will have a positive impact on natural taxpayers ( ) have debts from traffic fees beyond 5 years.
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