The General Tax Law provides statutes of limitations that apply to tax authorities and taxpayers alike. The tax authorities thus have only four years to assess or claim the payment of assessed or self-assessed debts, and taxpayers have the same period to apply for and obtain refunds and reimbursements of the costs of guarantees.
The National Appellate Court has had the opportunity to examine whether this statute of limitations applies to a refund requested by the taxpayer and already recognized by a final decision; in other words, not to the actual right to apply for the refund, which is four years since the payment to which the requested refund relates was made, but to the taxpayer’s right, where that refund has already been applied for and recognized, to have the tax authorities enforce the decision recognizing the refund.
The Court, in a recent judgment rendered on December 19, 2013, which we discuss below, made a distinction between the application for a refund and the enforcement of a refund already recognized in a final decision or judgment, and concluded that the General Tax Law does not provide a statute of limitations for this second case. That seems reasonable considering, as the National Appellate Court recalls, that it is the tax authorities who must properly enforce administrative decisions themselves without the interested party having to request this.
Thus, the Court applied criteria similar to those prevailing for court decisions, which do not have their own limitation period, as the Supreme Court has stated on repeated occasions.