Tax assessment by the Revenue Agency: terms, forfeiture, how it works

Unpaid taxes, that’s how long after the tax administration can no longer send recovery notices

The terms of tax assessment and collection by the Revenue Agency have been changed following the Covid-19 pandemic. What are they currently? How does the revocation work and what are the differences with the prescription? To shed light is an article of the Law for All.

“A rule launched in March 2020 during the lockdown had exceptionally suspended the terms of assessment and collection, but due to a conjunction with an already existing rule the effect was to extend them also for the next few years – explains the portal law and information and legal advice – This affects the terms of forfeiture of the tax assessment, which they no longer expire on the classic date of December 31 of each year, but are postponed. So we will have to get used to new dates, to be kept in mind to check the validity of the assessment notices received “.

“In a nutshell, the terms of forfeiture available to the Tax Authority to carry out its activities of ascertaining and recovering unpaid taxes had been frozen in 2020 for 85 days; therefore, notifications of tax deeds that expired on 31 December 2020 could be usefully made by March 25, 2021 (anyone who has received a request for payment of Imu and Tasi from the Municipality, or a car tax from the Region knows it well). But this criterion has not disappeared: it still makes its effects felt for all assessments that were possible, or already in progress, in the spring of 2020, and therefore the deferral also applies to subsequent tax years “explains La Legge per Tutti.

Here is the detail of “how much and how the deadline for tax assessments have been postponed, beyond which the Revenue Agency and other tax offices, including local ones, can no longer hit taxpayers for the evasions found. , in fact, it precludes the possibility of issuing notices of assessment, and equivalent deeds otherwise denominated, to recover undeclared income and unpaid taxes. Those received after the deadline are illegitimate and can be canceled “.


The tax assessment is “the activity with which the various bodies of the financial administration – from the Inland Revenue for revenue taxes, such as personal income tax and VAT, to the Municipalities for local taxes and fees, such as Imu and Tari – examine the position of taxpayers and recover for taxation the amounts due on the basis of income received or assets owned, but not declared or not paid. The tax assessment procedure can be carried out in various forms: automated checks on the returns presented , banking and financial investigations, checks at the headquarters of the taxpayer who carries out an entrepreneurial or professional activity. In many cases, there is a phase of dialogue with the taxpayer, through the preventive cross-examination or the sending of questionnaires, to ask for explanations and thus clarify the doubtful aspects before issuing the tax measure, avoiding unfounded assessments from the outset. The inspection activity, in all cases in which it emerges ge the need to recover unpaid taxes and to impose the consequent sanctions, ends with the issue of an assessment notice, which is enforceable like the tax bill and replaces it: this deed represents a valid title for collecting the sums requested through the instruments of forced execution, such as foreclosures “.


The tax administration “must carry out the verification activities within the mandatory deadlines set by the tax legislation. A late deed, completed and issued beyond these mandatory deadlines, would be invalid due to forfeiture of the power of assessment – explains The Law for All – The forfeiture does not it must be confused with the prescription: the difference lies in the fact that the prescription entails the loss of the right due to the inactivity of the holder in exercising it, while the forfeiture limits the time of exercise of the power related to that right. procedural field (for example, the deadlines for admitting evidence or for proposing an appeal) and in the tax field, where it constitutes a stimulus for the Tax Offices to carry out the activities within their competence within a limited period of time. institute represents a guarantee for the taxpayer, who knows that it cannot be ascertained beyond certain deadlines ena of forfeiture are generally much shorter than those necessary for the expiry of the limitation period: for example, direct taxes are prescribed in 10 years, but the offices lose the possibility of issuing the assessment notice for their recovery after only 5 years, calculated from the year of submission of the relevant tax return “.


“The tax legislation on income taxes and on VAT provides that the notification of notices of assessment must take place, under penalty of forfeiture, within the following terms: by 31 December of the fifth year following that in which the return was presented relating to the tax year subject to assessment; if the return has not been submitted, by 31 December of the seventh year following that in which the return should have been submitted. The administrative sanctions must be contested or imposed within the same terms. Also for local taxes, the deadline available to the Offices is five years: therefore, the notice of assessment must be notified by 31 December of the fifth year following the one in which the declaration, or the payment, was or should have been carried out. Beyond these terms, the assessment notice is illegitimate and may be challenged by the competent Tax Commission, within 60 days of notification, to obtain its cancellation. You will have noticed – writes The Law for All – that in the event of failure to submit the return (or of a null return, which is equivalent to the one not presented), the Taxing Offices are granted a longer period of time to carry out the verification activities and notify the tax deeds. In the case of undeclared financial assets held abroad in the countries included in the list of ‘tax havens’, the aforementioned terms of assessment are doubled, because for them there is a presumption of evasion “.

Taxpayers who guarantee the traceability of payments (by wire transfers, debit or credit cards and non-transferable checks) for transactions over 500 euros and using electronic invoicing, they benefit from a reduction in the deadline notices of assessment, which becomes only three years; therefore, in order for the notification to be valid, it must take place no later than 31 December of the third year following that of presentation of the return “.


“The ordinary discipline of the forfeiture of taxation power was modified during the emergency period of Covid-19: the ‘Cura Italia’ decree law granted more time to the offices to carry out the verification activity. In particular, the suspension was established of the terms for 85 days, in the period from 8 March 2020 to 31 May 2020. This led to the postponement of the terms of forfeiture, for a corresponding period. The result is that the deadline for deeds expiring on 31 December 2020 has been postponed to 26 March 2021., while, for the years from 2016 onwards, the same deferral of the terms of forfeiture consequently operates: the extension to March 26 (or to March 25, for leap years) is applied for all the years in which the control activity was in progress or could have been carried out in the period 8 March-31 May 2020, therefore certainly up to and including 2018 (for 2019 no, as the deadlines for submitting the return were still open). The Revenue Agency has already stated, in the course of the answers given to ‘Telefisco 2022’, reported by the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, that the deadline for the 2016 tax year will expire on 26 March 2023 for taxpayers who have submitted the declaration, instead of December 31, 2022 “concludes The Law for All.