Article Italy: Amendments to the Tax Justice System Adopted

On September 1, 2022, Law No. 130 of August 31, 2022, containing provisions on the tax justice system, entered into effect in Italy.

Modification of the Denomination of Tax Courts

Article 1(1)(a) of Law No. 130 amends the names of the tax judicial bodies, stating that the words “provincial tax commission(s)” [commissione/commissioni tributaria provincial], “regional tax commission(s)” [commissione/commissioni tributaria regionale] and “tax commission(s)” [commissione/commissioni tributaria] are replaced by the following: “tax court(s) of the first instance” [corte/corti di giustizia tributaria di primo grado], “tax court(s) of the second instance” [corte/corti di giustizia tributaria di secondo grado] and “tax court(s) of the first and second instance” [corte/corti di giustizia tributaria di primo e secondo grado].

Filling Vacancies in Lower Tax Courts

Current vacancies in judge positions on first instance tax courts and those upcoming over the next four years are to be filled competitively through exams. (Law No. 130, art. 1(1)(e), amending Legislative Decree No. 545 of December 31, 1992, art. 4(1).) Examinations seek to assess the candidates’ reasoning ability and require the writing of two theoretical papers, one on tax, civil, or commercial law, and the other on tax procedural law. (Law No. 130, art. 1(1)(e), amending Decree No. 545, art. 4(3).) Candidates who obtain the minimum acceptable score in the written tests are slated for oral examination. Candidates must also pass an interview in a foreign language of their choice. (Law No. 130, art. 1(1)(e), amending Decree No. 545, art. 4(5).)

Appointment of Tax Magistrates

Successful candidates are appointed as tax judges and must carry out a training internship of at least six months at a tax court. (Law No. 130, art. 1(1)(f), adding art. 4-quinquies(1) to Decree No. 545.) Tax judges who are evaluated negatively are admitted to a new internship of an additional six months, at the end of which the Presidency Council for Tax Justice makes a final decision on the candidate’s admission. (Law No. 130, art. 1(1)(f), adding art. 4-quinquies(2) to Decree No. 545.)

Active ordinary, administrative, accounting, and military magistrates with at least five years’ seniority in their positions may opt to move permanently into the tax jurisdiction. The law sets forth a cap of 100 posts. (Law No. 130, art. 1(4), adding art. 24-bis(7) to Decree No. 545.)

Continuing Training of Tax Judges and Tax Judges’ Salaries

The Presidency Council of Tax Justice has the authority to periodically approve regulations defining the criteria and methods to guarantee that tax judges receive continuous training and professional skills updates. (Law No. 130, art. 1(1)(g), adding art. 5-bis(2) to Decree No. 545.) Existing remuneration provisions for ordinary magistrates also apply to the new tax magistrates. (Law No. 130, art. 1(1)(p), adding art. 13-bis(1) to Decree No. 545.)

Admissible Evidence

Tax courts may admit witness testimony in accordance with the applicable rules contained in article 257-bis of the Code of Civil Procedure. (Law No. 130, art. 4(1)(c), substituting art. 7, para. 3 of Decree No. 546.) Evidence may be produced through audiovisual or digital means, according to the following rules: (a) production of evidence must ensure effective and reciprocal visibility of persons located in different venues; (b) the place where the remote connection takes place must be equivalent to a hearing room; (c) remote hearings must be held at the request of all the parties appearing in the process; otherwise, the hearing must be held at the chambers of the tax courts; (d) in remote hearings each judge is allowed to participate in the chambers of the tax court of justice; and (e) the pertinent authorities may at any time modify these rules, taking into account new technological developments. (Law No. 130, art. 4(4), substituting art. 16, para. 4 of Decree-Law No. 119 of October 23, 2018, converted, with amendments, into law, by Law No. 126 of December 17, 2018.)

Tax Chamber at the Cassation Court Instituted

Responding to a longstanding need, the law creates a civil section in charge of handling tax matters at the Court of Cassation. (Law No. 130, art. 3(1).)

Claims Pending Before the Court of Cassation

In the case of tax disputes not exceeding 100,000 euros (about US$97,585), complainants may submit their claims before the tax courts if they make a prior payment of an amount equal to 5% of the value of the dispute. (Law No. 130, art. 5(1).) In the case of tax disputes pending on July 15, 2022, before the Court of Cassation that the Revenue Agency is wholly or partially unsuccessful in resolving and that do not exceed 50,000 euros (about US$48,790), claimants make a prior payment of an amount equal to 20% of the value of the dispute. (Law No. 130, art. 5(2).)

Pending tax disputes are defined as those in which the counterparty has been notified of the appeal by cassation by the date of entry into force of Law No. 130, provided that, on the date of the submission of the claim, no final sentence exists. (Law No. 130, art. 5(4).)

Dante Figueroa, Law Library of Congress
November 23, 2022

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