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Brussels threatens Spain with taking it to the CJEU for hindering the payment of taxes from a European bank account | Economy

An employee works in an office of the Tax Agency one day before the start of the 2021 income campaign.
An employee works in an office of the Tax Agency one day before the start of the 2021 income campaign.Marta Fernandez Jara (Europa Press)

Disgust for Spain on the first day of the income campaign. The European Commission has warned the Government that it must change the tax rules to facilitate the payment of taxes from current accounts opened in banking entities located in other EU Member States. And you have to do it within two months. Otherwise, the European Commission will have its hands free to go to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as reported by the Community Executive itself this Wednesday.

What the Community Executive requires is that the SEPA regulation, which regulates the single payment area in the EU territory, be properly applied. Spanish regulations require that the payment service used by citizens to pay taxes through direct debits have the approval of the Tax Agency as a “collaborating entity”. “In practice, this is very difficult or cumbersome for foreign payment service providers to set up. As a result, these rules actually prevent the use of EU bank accounts outside of Spain.

The Spanish Government assures that it will analyze the reasoned opinion of the European Commission. But he insists on “clarifying that Spain allows you to pay your taxes from any bank account in Europe and the world. European regulations have recognized that what is needed for the European Single Window are widely available payment services, such as transfers”.

Treasury explains that in the Official State Gazette (BOE) on February 4, 2021, the Resolution of January 18, 2021, of the General Directorate of the State Tax Administration Agency, was published, which defines the procedure and conditions for the payment of debts through transfers through of collaborating entities in the collection management entrusted to the State Tax Administration Agency. And remember that with effect from March 15, 2021, payments are allowed for those who do not have an open account in any collaborating entity in the state collection management. “A procedure specially designed for those who pay their debts from abroad,” they explain.

It’s been a couple of years since the Community Executive opened a file on Spain By this situation. In May 2020, he took the first step by sending a formal notification to the Government of Pedro Sánchez urging him to correct the situation. He then gave her four months to explain why this was happening. Obviously that answer has not convinced Brussels, which is now taking a second step in which it issues a reasoned opinion and warns that if it does not receive “a satisfactory answer” within two months, it will have the door open to resort to justice, since that all the requirements demanded by the infringement action procedure contemplated by European regulations would have been met.

If Spain finally fails to comply with the demands of Brussels in this case and loses in court, this would not imply any fine, since the Commission chose the longest and least harsh corrective path for the Member States. To get to this point, the Spanish Government should continue to misapply the regulation of the single payment zone, which would give rise to a new file in which the Community Executive could already ask the judges to impose an amount to lump sum for non-compliance.

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The latest known data on files opened for infringements place Spain at the head of all EU countries. At the end of 2020, it had 99 procedures open, of which five corresponded to tax and customs matters. Specifically, four are due to delays in the transposition of directives and one, which would be the case that gave rise to the opinion known this Wednesday, to a misapplication of regulations.

Part of the reason that Spain heads the list of Member States with open files is due to the periods of parliamentary blockade and failed legislatures that Spain experienced in the second half of the last decade, which greatly slowed down legislative activity and the transposition of rules. In recent years, the Executive has tried to correct the situation – less than a month ago, for example, a regulation on waste treatment that transposes a community directive came forward in the Senate – however, there is still a blockage.

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