Tax inspections: when should you contact your local contact?

In a ruling handed down on March 10, the Conseil d'Etat reminds us that following a tax audit, the taxpayer has the right to a double hierarchical appeal, a guarantee provided for in the charter of rights and obligations of the audited taxpayer. The taxpayer has the option of referring the matter to the auditor's hierarchical superior and to the departmental interlocutor without delay.

Implementation of the hierarchical appeal

During a tax audit, it is possible to request the benefit of hierarchical appeals. The order of referral to the hierarchical superiors is important.

The first step is to request a meeting with the auditor's line manager.

This interview can take place at two different times:

  • During the audit and before the audit proposal or notice of no increase is sent ;
  • After the tax authorities have replied to the taxpayer's observations confirming the adjustments.

This initial appeal does not have the effect of suspending control operations.

Following the meeting with the hierarchical superior, if there are still differences of opinion, the taxpayer can ask to be referred to the contact person designated by the director to whom the auditor reports. Direct referral to the contact person requires a letter to be sent before the request is renewed, if necessary.

Don't wait to contact your local contact

In a ruling handed down on March 10, 2023, the Conseil d'Etat reiterates thata taxpayer may refer a matter to the departmental contact as soon as he or she has met the auditor's hierarchical superior. There is no need to wait for the latter to take a formal position.

In this case, a company had asked the administrative court to order the discharge, in duties and penalties, of the company vehicle tax reminders due for the period from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2016. In 2019, the administrative court granted his request. Three years later, on appeal by the Minister for Public Action and Accounts, the Administrative Court of Appeal overturned the ruling. Finally, the company lodged an appeal with the Conseil d'Etat's litigation secretariat, seeking to have the judgment set aside and for the State to pay a sum of 5,000 euros underarticle L 761-1 of the Code of Administrative Justice.

In the end, the company was unsuccessful. Following the reassessment notified by the tax authorities, it met with the auditor's hierarchical superior. The latter then confirmed the reassessment in writing, resulting in its collection. The company felt that it had not had sufficient time (9 days) between receipt of the letter and the assessment to refer the matter to the departmental contact. The Conseil d'Etat disagreed, pointing out that the company could have lodged a complaint with the departmental contact as soon as its meeting with the hierarchical superior had ended, thereby benefiting from a period of 17 days.