How is an inspection carried out? What happens if the proceedings are suspended for more than six months?

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Once the inspection has started, action should continue with the necessary days until the end.
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At the end of the actions of each day, they are suspended and inspection proceeds to determine the place, date and time recommence, which can take place from the next business day and up to a maximum period of six months. If the inspection does not set the date of resumption they are obliged, to direct a new written communication to the taxpayer to be able to continue the proceedings.

Inspection activities can be interrupted by common accord by the acting body (the taxpayer must be notified for their knowledge), adopted from their own initiative and written by higher order or reasoned request of inspectors, attending according to the circumstances of each case.

But, notwithstanding this, the activities of inspection are also considered interrupted when the suspension thereof continues for more than six months.

It should be noted that the interruption (suspension for more than six months) of unjustifiably long proceedings, for reasons non-attributable to the taxpayer, has the following effects:

a) It is understood the interruption of the limitation period was not produced, which took place following the start of the aforementioned actions.

b) Pending payments made after the interruption, without any new requirement mediated only entail the payment of interest of arrears but exclude the application of sanctions.

In practice, more delays occur during the period between the signing of the appeal of dissent and withdrawal of settlement done by the Chief Inspector, a period in which the delay is sometimes years (see section 3.8). By contrast, between the start of the proceedings and the formalisation of the act stoppages in the procedure after six months don’t occur.

Around this issue of unjustified interruption of inspections has been a major controversy and still has not been resolved definitively.

Various High Courts and the High Court in recent judgment of 22nd November 1994, maintains criterion that the inspection activities do not end when the acts are signed, but when the Chief Inspector withdraws the corresponding settlement.

If the Supreme Court were to confirm this criteria, it is clear that a huge number of disputes would be resolved in favour of taxpayers, by application of the prescription (whose assessment is not interrupted), without the need to analyse the substance of the issues discussed.

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