Financial and legal specialists discussed the main tax management issues during the Business Review Fiscal Litigations event on November 4. Conspicuous by their absence were the authorities from the National Fiscal Administration Agency (ANAF). Dan Dascalu, partner at D&B David & Baias, observed that they have not made any recent public appearances at such events.
Around 60 participants came to share their personal experience of contentious administrative issues during an almost hour-long Q&A session, after the speakers outlined their 360-degree approach to potential tax issues. During the event sessions, Ioana Sandru, partner at ZRP Tax, explained the application of EU law in tax litigation, highlighting the role of the European Court of Justice in fiscal inspections and litigation.
Sandru also raised practical cases in which an EU Treaty breach may be invoked, such as the non-deductibility of contractual penalties in financial contracts signed with non-resident partners before January 1 2010. The partner urged that when confronted with fiscal issues, a company should call on the support of a mixed team of consultants, with both fiscal and legal backgrounds.
Areas of risk for taxpayers and the general approach of the tax authorities along with sensitive fields (such as tax avoidance and its measures and consequences) were tackled by Dascalu and Daniel Anghel, partner, indirect tax, at PwC Romania.
Among the most notable risk areas for contributors are, Anghel said, the intensification of tax inspections (up 26 percent), delayed VAT returns (rising 50 percent), while tax returns to non-residents are an unresolved issue, as the authorities do not process such requests directly.
Anghel explained the difficulties in fiscal litigation, such as the court’s problems in interpreting both national and international legislation and the fiscal administration’s so-called “silence” or lack of response concerning some issues. The most recent modifications to tax procedures were also discussed.
Mircea Marinescu, chief financial officer at Romstal, gave the client perspective on fiscal litigation. He explained the necessary measures throughout all the stages of a fiscal audit, from its preparation and process per se to its contestation by judicial and administrative means. Marinescu also highlighted the importance of anticipating an audit, as it is best to prepare for such a demanding process in advance, rather than be taken by surprise by it.
Practical aspects regarding the stages of tax inspections, insight into court practices during tax litigation and practical issues concerning the contestation and suspension of the enforced collection of tax liabilities were all touched on by Florin Gherghel, head of the tax & finance department at Noerr Finance & Tax. Gherghel also spoke on the more technical aspects of tax assessment, such as the postponement and suspension of a tax inspection. He recommended discussions with the inspecting team, from whom, few people know, assistance may be called upon and feedback sought throughout the inspection. The potential contestation of the administrative documents was also aired, with special focus put on the terms of starting such procedures – 30 days for administrative fiscal documents and 15 days for minutes stating contraventions.