COVID-19: Measures to facilitate tax assessment and appeal procedures (deadlines)
In the following, we provide an overview of the implications of the 2nd Austrian COVID-19 Act and the latest BMF information for tax assessment and appeal procedures (deadlines).
This entry was last updated on 25 March 2020 and includes the latest information available to us.
TAX RETURN DEADLINES
Annual tax returns
Generally, tax returns (e.g. income tax, corporate income tax, annual VAT) must be submitted by 30 June of the following year (if submitted electronically).
The tax authorities may extend the deadline (discretionary decision) for the submission of tax returns on a case-by-case basis (extension of an individual deadline). If the deadline extension is not granted, an additional deadline of at least one week must be set.
If a taxpayer is represented for tax purposes, the taxpayer can make use of the so-called quota system (“Quotenregelung”). In this case, the tax returns must be submitted by 31 March of the second following year at the latest. If this deadline cannot be met, the provisions described above on the “extension of an individual deadline” apply.
BMF information of 24 March 2020
The deadline to submit tax returns for 2019 for tax payers that are not represented for tax purpose will be extended until 31 August 2020.
KSW information of 20 March and 23 March 2020
The deadline to submit tax returns for 2018 for tax payers that are represented for tax purpose (and the quota system is therefore applicable) is also extended until 31 August 2020.
Monthly VAT returns
Monthly VAT returns must be submitted by the 15th of the second following calendar month.
The deadline for submitting monthly VAT returns may also be extended, as monthly VAT returns count as tax returns. Here, too, the decision on whether to grant the extension of the deadline is at the discretion of the tax authority.
No general extension of the deadline to submit monthly tax returns is envisaged. Due to the current situation, any discretionary decision in this regard ought to favour the taxpayer.
BMF information of 24 March 2020
If annual tax returns or monthly VAT returns are nevertheless submitted late, no surcharge for late filing will result if the late filing takes place before 1 September 2020.
DEADLINE FOR APPEALS
The deadline for submission of an ordinary appeal (appeal against assessment notice) is one month from delivery of the assessment notice which is being contested.
The deadline for appeal must be extended (not a discretionary decision) in extenuating circumstances on application, and repeatedly if required.
2nd Austrian COVID-19 Act
Appeal periods which commence after 16 March 2020 (delivery of assessment notice) and appeal periods which have not expired as at 16 March 2020 will all be discontinued until 30 April 2020. The appeal periods will then re-commence on 1 May 2020 in full length. This also covers requests for submission to the Austrian Tax Court (Vorlageantrag) and complaints against measures (Maßnahmenbeschwerden).
This also applies to deadlines in tax criminal proceedings (e.g. appeal, objection).
Similar provisions apply for the six-week period to file a revision with the Austrian Supreme Administrative Court (VwGH) and the deadline for appeals with the Austrian Supreme Constitutional Court (VfGH). Deadlines which have not expired as at 22 March 2020 (entry into force of 2nd COVID-19 Act), or which commence after this date, will be discontinued until 30 April 2020 and will re-commence in full length from 1 May 2020.
Deadline for applications under Section 299 Austrian Federal Fiscal Code (BAO)
The deadline of one year from delivery to apply for the revocation or amendment of a tax assessment notice is an absolute deadline. It cannot be extended and must therefore be observed.
Although information provided on the BMF’s homepage last week stated that the one-year deadline for annulment or amendment would be suspended, no provisions in the law which has entered into force give grounds for a suspension of this deadline. Even though the suspension of the annual deadline (Section 299 BAO) can be found in the legal materials relating to the 2nd COVID-19 Act, observation of the one-year deadline is urgently recommended, as it appears an editorial mistake may have been made.
On the instigation of the Austrian Chamber of Tax Advisors and Public Accountants (KSW), the BMF has provided informal information that due to the coronavirus crisis further facilitations of the tax authorities are planned in the area of audit and control.
According to the BMF, external audits, inspections and surveys made by the tax offices, the financial police, the customs authorities, and the audit service for wage-based taxes and contributions, will not be commenced if the company in question can credibly demonstrate that they are unable to adequately support these audit activities due to the coronavirus crisis.
Audit activities which have already started will also be suspended or interrupted for the same reasons.
These facilitations do not include investigations under tax criminal law.