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impuesto de plusvalia

The Supreme Court has added another episode to the legal saga surrounding the municipal increment tax. The recent ruling establishes that taxpayers can request a refund, even if the assessment is final, when they’ve overpaid without making profits. This decision opens the door to seeking reimbursement through the special procedure outlined in the General Tax Law for specific cases of full nullity declaration.

What is the Tax on the Increase in Value of Urban Land?

The Tax on the Increase in Value of Urban Land, known as municipal increment tax, is a local levy on the appreciation of land where properties are located. Depending on the municipality, taxpayers may self-assess the tax or have the municipality collect it. This distinction is crucial; in the former, taxpayers have four years to contest discrepancies, while in the latter, the period is reduced to one month. After this, the assessment is considered final and harder to challenge.

A Look at Past Rulings

Understanding the significance of the recent Supreme Court ruling requires revisiting past judicial decisions. In 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that the municipal increment tax couldn’t be imposed if no increase in value had occurred. This meant those selling at a loss weren’t obligated to pay the tax. In 2019, another Constitutional Court ruling stated that the tax amount couldn’t exceed the transaction’s profit. By the end of 2021, the tax calculation base was declared unconstitutional, prompting lawmakers to devise a new system.

Changes in Jurisprudence

Until now, legal doctrine prevented challenging a final assessment when the tax was paid without profit, due to the lack of an official review mechanism in the General Tax Law. The recent Supreme Court ruling revises this by deeming final assessments for municipal increment tax null if no land value increase occurred. Additionally, with no limitation on effects, the General Tax Law article allowing official review of these assessments can be applied, with corresponding interests.

Implications and Unanswered Questions

The Supreme Court ruling raises significant implications and leaves certain questions unanswered. For instance, the extent to which refunds can be claimed retroactively remains unclear. While the ruling considers the time elapsed since payment to review, it doesn’t specify a concrete time limit.

Future Perspectives

Despite the new opportunity to review final municipal increment tax assessments, practical application may be limited. Many taxpayers subject to such assessments without land value increase may have already initiated proceedings based on previous rulings, such as that of 2017. Moreover, special legal procedures are typically exceptional and may face various hurdles in processing.

The recent Supreme Court ruling adds a new chapter to the lengthy and complex debate on municipal increment tax. While it provides taxpayers with a new avenue to reclaim overpaid taxes, practical application and long-term implications remain to be seen. Changes in jurisprudence and the evolution of tax legislation will continue to be of interest to lawyers, taxpayers, and tax authorities in the future.

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