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Tax Inspection Visit – What Are Your Rights?

The Tax Agency and the Tax Ministry have been organising more frequent inspection visits to Autonomos/Self Employed and PYMEs/small businesses these past months.
But what are your rights as owner of a small business or Autonomo / Self Employed, either working from home or from a seperate office or at your workplace. Do you have to let a Tax Inspector in when he/she arrives on your doorstep?

One of the basic rights as established by law is the ´inviolability of the home´ and according to experts this same principle is valid for offices, meaning that no one can enter if the propietor doesn´t allow it.

So when DO you need to grant access to a Tax Inspector?
When he/she carries a written authorisation, signed by the ´delegado´/responsible person of the Tax Agency that covers your area, either that of the office/workplace of the PYME or your home, if you are Autonomo.
If the inspector fails to produce this authorisation, you do not have to grant access.

The inspector cannot start his inspection until the one responsible for the business is present, so he/she can enter if produced the above mentioned authorisation, but cannot touch anything, read files, access computers, nothing. You are also entitled to have your (legal) assessor/accountant/gestor present, so if you make this clear when the inspector arrives, he/she will have to wait with the actual inspection until that person has arrived as well.

The above is NOT applicable if the inspector arrives with a court order, in that case access cannot be denied and he/she does not have to wait for the owner to start the inspection.

If all legal formalities ar met and you do not allow a Tax Inspector to enter the premises, you risk being accused of obstruction of inspection activities and corresponding fines range from 300 euros to 2% of the company´s yearly turnover. Each tax inspector can apply for a court order, to gain access this way, anyway.

Please note: The information provided is based upon our understanding of current legislation. It is not legal advice but is provided freely to enable you to be properly informed. We recommend that if you are considering taking action, you should seek professional advice.

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