Argentina: Taxpayer's Alternatives In Relation To A Tax Claim: Appeal The Tax Assessment Or Pay And File A Refund Claim?

A Superior Court of Justice of the City of Buenos Aires’ ruling resolved a case where a tax on gross income debt was assessed, and the taxpayer, who had previously appealed the assessment, required a plan to pay the tax debt in monthly installments. Then, the taxpayer filed a refund claim. The Court analyzed whether once the taxpayer filed an administrative appeal against an assessment the tax payer is able to initiate a refund claim in relation to the same debt.

1. Background

The Tax Authority of the City of Buenos Aires (hereinafter, the “AGIP”) assessed taxpayer’s tax on gross income debt. The latter decided to challenge the assessment through the filing of the corresponding administrative appeals and obtained an administrative final decision which dismissed its tax position. Subsequently, the taxpayer requested the AGIP to instate a plan to pay the tax debt in monthly installments –but alleging that such requirement does not imply the recognition of the debt– which was accepted by the tax authority. Then the taxpayer made a payment in advance and the first plan installment; after that he filed the claim to obtain the refund of such payments.

The AGIP  requested the rejection of the refund claim, considering that once the final administrative decision had been issued, the taxpayer had 90 days to challenge such decision legally (in accordance to Section 7 of the Administrative and Tax Litigation Code). This was not the case. Rather, the taxpayer had initiated the refund claim after the lapsing term had passed. According to the taxpayer, he had taken the right decision, considering that neither the local Tax Code nor the Administrative and Tax Litigation Code established a lapse term in order to initiate a refund claim once the payment was made. Therefore, there is no time-based impediment for the refund claim whenever the claim is initiated within the statute of limitations term (five years).

Both the First Instance Court and the Court of Appeals in Administrative and Tax Matters considered the Tax Authority’s position proper and stated that the refund claim was inadmissible. These decisions were based on the fact that once the taxpayer chooses to file an administrative appeal and obtains an administrative final decision, he/she or it has 90 days to file a lawsuit before the Justice. On the contrary, the administrative final decision becomes definitive and may not be able to be challenged.

The taxpayer appealed the Court of Appeals’ judgment before the Superior Court of Justice of the City of Buenos Aires (“TSJ”).

2. The judgment of the Superior Court of Justice

The TSJ1 declared the formal admissibility of the appeal, and analyzed the parties’ arguments. It is important to consider that two of the judges of the Superior Court endorsed the taxpayer’s position, two of them endorsed the AGIP’s position; while Lozano, in attention to the particular circumstances of the case, granted a favorable decision to the taxpayer. It is necessary to bear in mind that if such particular circumstances had not occurred, Lozano’s decision would have been in favor of the AGIP (as he did in a previous ruling). 2

Judges Conde and Ruiz decided in favor of the AGIP’s position based on local Tax Code that provides two alternatives to challenge an assessment. On the one hand, the taxpayer is able to choose to pay the debt and to file a refund claim. The deadline for such action is the statute of limitation term and there is no other lapse term. On the other hand, the taxpayer is able appeal the assessment until he/she or it obtains an administrative final decision. If such decision is unfavorable to the taxpayer, then he/she or it has a 90-day term to file a lawsuit (and if the payments were made, seek the reimbursement of the payment). If the lawsuit is not initiated within the term, it provokes the expiry of the action by lapse of time and the forfeiture of the right. The judges understood that, once one of the alternatives is chosen (administrative appeal or to pay and to file a refund claim), taxpayers cannot discard it, thus they have to fulfill all the procedures and requirements provided for the chosen alternative.

Conversely, Judges Casás and Paz supported the taxpayer’s position. For this purpose, they considered that the fact that the taxpayer had not filed the lawsuit within the 90-day term was not enough to deny the refund claim. They based their position on the fact that the Tax Code establishes two requirements for the admissibility of the refund claim: the payment must be done and it has to be without cause. They claimed that judges are not able to demand the compliance of requirements that are not provided by law.    

As anticipated, Lozano granted his favorable decision to the taxpayer, despite his opposing position in previous judgments. In this case, he considered that as a consequence of the request and approval of the plan to pay the tax debt in monthly installments, the taxpayer could understand that the discussion was renewed; therefore, he decided to file the refund claim instead of challenge the decision through the filing of an appeal.

Consequently, the Superior Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ judgment.

3. Conclusion

A close reading of the ruling allows us to realize that there are reasonable arguments that support both positions adopted by the Judges of the Superior Court and, at the same time, that the decision, which in this “exceptional” case was in favor of the taxpayer, could have been in favor of the Tax Authority in a different case.

The resolved dispute is not unusual in tax litigation practice since taxpayers who face a tax claim usually may either appeal the Tax Authority assessment or pay the alleged debt to avoid the payment of interest, obtain a reduction in the fines’ amounts or enter into a plan to pay the tax debt in installments. In such cases, several queries arise: If the taxpayer makes the payment, shall he/she or it continue with filing of administrative appeals? Should the payment be made under protest? Once a final administrative decision is issued, can the taxpayer require a reimbursement? Should he/she or it file a lawsuit or a refund claim? How long is the term for that purpose?

Beyond the opposing positions, the matter seems to be clear enough in the jurisdiction of the City of Buenos Aires considering the previous cases and the current set-up of judges in the TSJ. Once the AGIP has assessed the taxes, the taxpayer can choose between paying and filing a refund claim or filing an appeal. If the taxpayer decides to appeal, it has to be under the terms prescribed in each Tax Code and the lawsuit must be filed within the following 90 days according to the Procedural Code. It is irrelevant whether the payment was made while the administrative appeal was being resolved or not. In other words, the term for the refund claim is the same as the statute of limitations only when the taxpayer chooses to pay and to file a refund claim instead of appealing the assessment.

The TSJ’s ruling also provides an additional message. The analysis made in this case, as well as the positions adopted by the Tax Authority and the taxpayers, can be repeated in all jurisdictions at municipal, provincial or national level. Consequently, when it comes to deciding whether to appeal an assessment or to pay the debt, it is decisive to perform a careful analysis of the Tax Codes and local procedural legislation to choose the alternative that best safeguards the taxpayer’s rights and gives an answer to the queries raised in the preceding paragraphs.


1. Docket No. 9989/13 “Bank Boston NA v. GCBA”, 12/23/2015.

2. “Laboratorios Mar S.A. v. GCBA”. 6/44/2014. Lozano’s dissent.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions