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Venezuela

Published on Wednesday 12th September 2018

    • Venezuela

      The Integrated National Service of Customs and Tax Administration (SENIAT) is the competent tax authority in Venezuela.

      SENIAT is affiliated to the Ministry of Banking and Finance and is entrusted with functional and budgetary autonomy. SENIAT’s is divided into several departments that manage the following taxes: (i) income tax, (ii) value added tax (VAT), (iii) inheritance tax, (iv) gift tax, (v) cigarette and tobacco tax, (vi) liquor sales tax, (vii) gambling winnings tax. SENIAT has a National Intendancy of Customs that functions as the authority responsible for collecting tariff and custom taxes and manages Venezuelan customs and ports.

      SENIAT is the national tax authority, but it is important to mention that Venezuelan states and municipalities have similar authorities to administer and collect state and municipal taxes.

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      Taxpayers must determine and pay taxes by filing their tax returns within the due dates set forth in the applicable laws and regulations. The filing is generally done electronically.

      The tax authority is entitled to conduct tax audits. Tax audits begin through an administrative writ that identifies the taxes and the tax years subject to investigation.

      If the taxpayers’ positions are correct, the tax authority issues a compliance statement. However, if the tax authority considers that there is a tax underpayment, it issues an assessment. The assessment must be notified to taxpayers, compelling them to rectify their tax returns and to pay any tax liabilities pending.

      The taxpayers have 15 business days after receiving an assessment to accept and pay the tax authority’s tax determination. If the taxpayers accept and pay the tax liabilities set forth in the assessment within the 15-day term, the tax authority must issue a resolution finalising the procedure and imposing the applicable penalties and interest. There is no possibility of transactions during tax audits. The taxpayers may only fully or partially accept the assessment.

      If  taxpayers disagree with the tax authority’s assessment, they may file a defence brief within 25 business days of the 15 business days for payiment to be made. Taxpayers are also entitled to submit any relevant evidence to rebut the tax authority’s assessment.

      The tax authority must confirm or revoke the assessment, totally or partially, by issuing a resolution concluding the summary procedure within one year following the 25-day term for filing the taxpayers’ defence brief. If the tax authority does not decide during this year, the procedure is deemed concluded and voided.

      If the tax authority issues a resolution confirming the assessment, taxpayers have the right to appeal by filing either an administrative appeal or an appeal before the tax courts. Taxpayers may choose to first subject the dispute to administrative litigation by filing an administrative appeal and if the tax authority denies the appeal, subject such decision to judicial review. Likewise, the taxpayers may choose to appeal directly to tax courts. The competent court for second instance procedures in tax and customs disputes is the Political-Administrative Chamber of the Venezuelan Supreme Court.  

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and arbitration are available options for a taxpayer under the Venezuelan tax code. However, arbitration may only be submitted for matters subject to transaction.

      The arbitration may be proposed and must be agreed once a judicial tax appeal is filed and admitted. Once the arbitral agreement is entered into between the taxpayer and the tax authority, tax courts cannot decide any matter subject to the arbitration.

      Each party of the arbitral agreement must appoint an arbitrator. The appointed arbitrators must agree to designate a third arbitrator. If there is no consent in the designation of the third arbitrator, the designation must be made by the tax court. The arbitrators must be attorneys at law.

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      Any decision of a tax court may be appealed in the term of eight business days following the decision, in accordance to the article 285 of the Venezuelan Tax Code.

      The appeal may be filed in the cases involving taxes or fines only when its amount exceeds 100 tax units for individuals and 500 tax units for legal entities.

      The procedure to follow in the appeal is conducted before the Political-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      The discovery process doesn’t formally exist in Venezuelan tax litigation. However, every person has the right to access evidence and to be afforded the necessary time and means to conduct his or her defence. The Tax Code provides a general rule of freedom of evidence governing the tax litigation procedure that implies that the taxpayers and the tax authority may submit any relevant evidence to prove their arguments or to rebut the other party’s positions. During tax litigation, the parties may request the judge to order the other party or third parties to submit evidence, request witnesses and expert witnesses to testify or the performance of an accounting or technical expertise. 

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      The attorney-client privilege is recognised in Venezuela under the National Constitution and the Lawyer’s Practice Law. Also, articles 128 and 134 of the Venezuelan Tax Code recognise litigation attorney–client privilege.

      In the case of accountants and financial professionals, they have special regulations that imply that the communications between professionals and their clients are protected.

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      The Tax Code provides certain evidence rules governing administrative and judicial tax litigations. The general evidence rules set forth in the Procedure Code apply on a supplementary basis.

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      The Venezuelan Tax Code establishes criminal charges for the following type of offences: (i) tax fraud, (ii) non-payment of advances in the case of turnover taxes, (iii) fraudulent insolvency to tax evasion purposes and (iv) incitement to tax fraud.

      However, the most recent experience indicates that the prosecution of tax crimes is not common in Venezuela.

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      No, criminal tax litigations are prosecuted by specialised prosecutors from the general attorney’s office and the civil tax litigations are in charge of the public attorney of the relevant tax authority. 

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      If the tax authority levies an assessment the taxpayer has the initial burden of proof on common tax issues, because assessments from tax authorities are presumed as being legal and correct, unless proven otherwise. 

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      Yes, interest is available to the taxpayer following a successful claim for overpayment. The rates are calculated by the average of the lending interest rates of the six principal banks of Venezuela, with an increase of 1.2 per cent. The interest begins to accrue after the tax authority’s 60-business day term for granting refund requests elapses.

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      SENIAT is the competent authority for resolving tax treaty claims.

      The Venezuela Tax Code prescribes the powers entitled to the Venezuelan tax authority.

      In this sense, the tax authority might subscribe inter-institutional agreements with foreign tax authorities in order to cooperate and exchange information. The exchange of information must be confidential and such information can only be used by the competent tax authority. The National Tax Authority Law also promotes international cooperation in relation to taxes. 

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      No, there are constitutional and legal prohibitions about the retroactively application of any kind of law or regulation. No legislative provision shall have retroactive effect, except where it imposes a lesser penalty or when suppressing or establishing sanctions that favor the offender. 

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      The general statute of limitations on tax claims in Venezuela is six years. However, in some cases the general statute of limitation period can be increased to 10 years. The statute of limitations periods may be tolled by certain events set forth in the Tax Code. Among other cases, the statute of limitations period for conducting tax audits may be interrupted if the tax authorities formally begin a tax audit on a particular tax year.

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

    • Venezuela

      VAT is a significant matter of litigation in Venezuela. Although it is not the main issue, the municipality’s taxes on economic activities also bear some relevance in Venezuelan tax litigation. In addition, tax litigation relating to special contributions, such as the science and technology and sports contributions have increased during recent years.

      Last verified on Thursday 9th August 2018

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