The appeal resource in tax matters in El Salvador

The Salvadoran Tax Code, in its art. 188, stipulates that, regarding resources, one must adhere to the provisions of the Law on the Organization and Functioning of the Internal Revenue and Customs Appeals Tribunal.

Being competent to hear the appeals filed by taxpayers before the Internal Revenue and Customs Appeals Tribunal (TAIIA), concerning administrative acts issued by the General Directorate of Internal Revenue, are as follows:

    1. Definitive resolutions regarding the self-assessment of taxes.
    2. Sanction imposition resolutions.

Regarding administrative resources, which include the appeal resource, author José María Ayala Muñoz (2019) states the following:

    • Administrative resources can be considered a preliminary phase or a condition, without which it will not be possible to access contentious-administrative jurisdiction. Their purpose is to annul or exclude from legal life those acts that are not under the law, without the need to incur the expenses and time that a judicial procedure would entail. This is an opportunity for the party concerned to have their claim accepted.
    • On the other hand, these resources will be beneficial for the administration itself and the purposes pursued by administrative actions. They allow the administration a suitable means for the higher authority to correct the erroneous criteria of the lower authority, specify the content of the act, examine issues not correctly considered initially, and, ultimately, correct deficiencies in the original act (José María Ayala Muñoz, 2019, pp. 171-173).

For this reason, those subject to administration need to be aware of the mechanisms of challenges provided by the legislator to make sure they use them on time.

The development of the appeal resource is outlined below:

    1. It will commence with the filing of the Appeal Resource within 15 business days from the day following the notification of the self-assessment or sanctioning resolution. It will be submitted in writing, specifying the location for receiving notifications and other procedures within the urban radius of San Salvador.
    2. The TAIIA will request the administrative file from the DGII within 3 business days.
    3. Upon receiving the files, the TAIIA will admit the referred resource if applicable and will request a report from the DGII within 15 business days from the day following the notification.
    4. It will allow evidence to be presented for 5 business days from the notification.
    5. After the evidence period, the TAIIA will order the production of evidence.
    6. The TAIIA will hear the appellant’s final arguments within 8 days from the day following the notification.
    7. The TAIIA will proceed to resolve the appeal resource and notify the verdict, which shall not exceed 9 months from filing the appeal.

It is important to note that the TAIIA may order (on its own) inspections and document displays and conduct any type of appraisal and necessary proceedings to clarify the contested points. Likewise, it may decide on all issues raised in the administrative file, regardless of whether the interested parties have alleged them.

The verdict resolving the appeal resource is the act that will be considered final at the administrative level (art. 188 of the Tax Code) and will allow the party concerned to exercise the contentious-administrative action, under Art. 24 of the Administrative Jurisdiction Law, which establishes the need for the party concerned to have exhausted the administrative route.

Exhausting administrative routes are defined as the act that concludes the respective procedure or resolves the appeal, regardless of whether it is known to the hierarchical superior or another body provided for by law (art. 131 of the Administrative Procedures Law).

Considering administrative resources as that preliminary phase for access to contentious administrative jurisdiction.