Tax Mailbox: The future to notify the taxpayer on administrative procedures.

Recently new rules of general character were published to start the new SAT (Tax Administration Service) program, known as “BUZON TRIBUTARIO” (TAX MAILBOX), a technological state-of-the-art element in taxing matters, with which Fiscal Authority will keep in touch with the taxpayer in a more swift and effective manner.

In the statement of reasons of the proposal of amendment and additions to the Federation’s Fiscal Code (CFF – as per its acronym in Spanish), the Tax Mailbox and its scope were defined as follows:  

“…With the said system the taxpayer shall be served notice of the several documents and administrative acts; and it shall furthermore allow him/her to file pleas, requests, notices, or fulfill the requirements of the authority, with electronic or digitalized documents, and even make inquiries on his/her fiscal situation and appeal on authority deeds, which shall facilitate the fulfillment of his/her fiscal obligations and will inure to the benefit of the taxpayer.”

buzon-tributario-del-sat_thumb.jpgAmong other justifications to change or emigrate to this more effective method of communication, the cost and time expemse these personal notifications represent was made known, and as per SAT´s data, "...the process of personal serving of notice has a cost of 259 pesos per event, with an efficiency of 81%, and requires 5 to 30 days as of the issuance of the document to conclude the procedure of notification. Therefore, the use of electronic and digital means for this procedure shall allow the reduction, in addition to time and cost, of defects onthe form which currently exist, for these would be carried out in a forhwith manner."

Furthermore the intent this mechanism seeks is to enable a taxation tool with which the taxpayer shall be able to access fiscal receipts (CFDI-Invoices), both issued and received ones, which will allow SAT to carry out an annual assessment prior to the taxpayer’s return, something similar to the preloading of information of the yearly Tax Return of Individuals, actually. The procedure to have access to this application is relatively simple, for only necessary is to have an Advanced Electronic Signature (FIEL – as per its acronym in Spanish), which is indispensable to be able to authenticate the identity of the documents received; access the SAT page, at the section “Mi Portal” (My Space), and further into the electronic mailbox section.

NOTIFICATIONS TO THE TAXPAYER BY FISCAL AUTHORITY

Fiscal Authority has the capacity to require, beseech or request from the taxpayer information using its capacities of review; however, the taxpayer has rights and guarantees before the mentioned Administrative Authority, and based on this premise we have this guarantee granted by our Political Constitution, which verbatim reads:

“No one may be disturbed at his/her person, family, address, papers or possessions, only by virtue of a written mandate by competent authority, which offers a foundation and reason of the legal cause of the procedure…”

Out of the preceding derived is that any and all administrative acts must be notified in writing and supported with the corresponding legal foundation over which competent authority is based on.

Notifications may be personal or via certified mail; with ordinary mail service or telegram; through the court’s bulletin board; with edicts; or via instruction; pursuant to CFF section 134.

It is in subsection first of CFF section 134 wherein digital documents are mentioned as an option to personally serve notice to the taxpayer.

Notwithstanding digital documents have been included in the CFF for many years back, since 2004 to be precise, it is only as of August 14 of 2013 with the 3rd RMF that SAT deems to have the adequate infrastructure to step forward and use this tool to notify the taxpayers, establishing rules on such digital documents and on the notification procedure itself.

Following a comparison between both schemes, the personal one, which is currently prevailing, inasmuch as notifications by Authority to the taxpayer, and on the other hand the most recent electronic means at hand:

 

PERSONAL

TAX MAILBOX

Type of notification:

Summons.

Requirements.

Request for reports or documents, and

  Administrative Resolutions against which some means of defense may be filed.

 

They are valid

Will be as valid as personal ones

 

Places where notification may be served?

At the last address the interested party has registered for purposes of the Federal Taxpayers Registry, except that he/she would have designated another one for receiving them when an instance is commenced or at an administrative procedure.

Electronically:

At the section of the SAT’s page “mi portal” into the “Buzon Tributario” (Tax Mailbox) section

Usual notification procedure

 

Summons: in case the taxpayer or legal representative is not there. 

Notification:  On the following working day after the summons is made, to the taxpayer, legal representative or third party. 

Prior to the carrying out of the serving of notification, a notice will be sent to the e-mail address, informing that at the “Buzon Tributario” found inside the “Mi Portal” section pending is delivery of notification of a document issued by fiscal authority.

The taxpayers shall have 5 days to open the digital documents pending serving of notification; such term will count as of the day following that on which SAT sends the notice via e-mail.

When are the notifications deemed delivered?

The date on which the notification is received

When the acknowledgment of receipt is produced, on which entered is the date and the time on which the taxpayer authenticated access to open the document to be served.

Acknowledgment of Receipt

Autograph signature of the legal representative or third party notified with the deed of notification. 

Digital document with electronic signature transmitted by the recipient when opening the digital document that would have been sent to him/her.

Recording of term

Will start on the working day following that on which serving of notice was made.

Will start on the day following the one on which the taxpayer authenticates the opening of the document and in case of not opening it, the electronic notification shall be deemed done on the sixth day counted as of the day following the one on which the mentioned notice was sent.

Example of record of term on notifications

Document received on Monday 15, the record of term will start as of Tuesday 16.

The e-mail is received that there is a notification in the tax mailbox on Monday 15.  

We have until Monday 20 to access the tax mailbox and open the document. 

a.        If we do not open it, it shall be considered received on Tuesday 21.

b.       If we open it on the same day we received the e-mail, the term would run as of Tuesday 16.

In some cases it would become difficult to use the “do not open notification” as legal strategy to win time for there would be no certainty on the act to be notified. 

Legal Foundation:  CFF 134, 135, 136, 137 ; 3ª RMF2013  II.2.10.5.

FINAL REMARKS

It is important to note that on the date of posting of this publication the rules related to the tax mailbox and electronic notifications are included in the contents of the Miscellaneous Resolution; however this topic has been included in the amendments to the CFF for 2014, the proposal has moved on been approved by the Congress, changing from 5 to 3 days to open your tax mailbox and it is expected to enter in force in June 2014 for corporations and January 2015 for individuals.

At par with the fiscal simplification proposed by the Federal Executive Officer, true is that this measure represents a step forward making communication between Authority and taxpayer more efficient, it promotes optimization of resources to both parties, and also creates a new tool of taxation; however, some questionings still remain which produce polemics due to the fact that a good section of the taxpayers would not have the technological culture or even because of failures at the services or technological apps the taxpayer could stand in a state of defenselessness of his rights.

In the near future assessed must be if such notifications meet or not the additional requirements established by the several fiscal provisions, whether they are legally admissible or not, and above of all in the event of a possible procedure of review of the taxpayer by competent Authority, where an accurate interpretation of the document received may place the taxpayer at a disadvantage if he does not act on time, for once the established terms have expired, such electronic notification shall come into the same effect as one in hardcopy and, as is well known, each day is valuable for the preparation of an optimal reply to Authority.

Any question or remark to this regard, I remain at your service at my e-mail address and I shall gladly address your concerns.

 

 

"That article may be contrary to the interpretation of the tax authorities"

 

CP Arturo Calderón

Teran Rojas & Associates.

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