Supreme Court victory for the Firm on behalf of Unicredit in relation to preliminary rebuttal
The team from Tremonti Romagnoli Piccardi e Associati, composed of partner Cristiano Caumont Caimi and senior associates Manuela Cittadini and Anna Maria Gulino, successfully assisted Unicredit in a tax litigation proceeding concerning VAT. The Italian Supreme Court upheld the annulment of the notice of assessment that was issued against the banking group. The aforesaid notice had been issued before the expiry of the 60-day time limit – as provided for by the Italian Taxpayer Bill of Rights – that runs from the date the Tax Audit Report is served.
In accepting the taxpayer’s arguments, the Supreme Court Judges stated some important legal principles on the disputed topic of the preliminary rebuttal in tax matters:
(i) in the case of inspections and audits carried out at the taxpayer’s premises, the violation of the statutory time limit always results “ex se” in the nullity of the notice; (ii) in other cases, the obligation to have the preliminary rebuttal applies only to “harmonized” taxes (in particular, VAT) and requires the so-called “test of resistance” on the part of the taxpayer, that is to say the demonstration of the existence of valid reasons that could have led the Tax Authority to change its position; (iii) the imminent expiry of the deadline for the assessment – being a foreseeable circumstance and dependent on the organization of the audit activities by the Tax Authority – cannot constitute grounds of justified urgency to disregard the aforementioned 60-day time limit.