Spain: ¿Qué Pasa Con La Plusvalía Municipal?

Last Updated: 29 June 2018
Article by José Suárez and Diego Marín-Barnuevo
Most Read Contributor in Spain, November 2018

Ha pasado ya un año desde que el Tribunal Constitucional declaró la inconstitucionalidad del impuesto municipal sobre la plusvalía y los contribuyentes siguen desconcertados, sin comprender por qué los ayuntamientos siguen exigiendo el pago de un impuesto cuyas reglas de cuantificación fueron declaradas inconstitucionales.

La situación es ciertamente insólita, porque las normas reguladoras del Impuesto han sido declaradas inconstitucionales y nulas por el Tribunal Constitucional, "pero únicamente en la medida que someten a tributación situaciones de inexistencia de incrementos de valor", en palabras del propio Tribunal. Se trata, pues, de una especie de declaración de inconstitucionalidad condicionada, no contemplada en la Ley Orgánica del Tribunal Constitucional.

La novedosa declaración de inconstitucionalidad condicionada pretendía, probablemente, que el Gobierno impulsara una modificación legal de la normativa reguladora y delimitara los supuestos en los que no hubo incremento real, declarándolos exentos de tributación. Pero dicha modificación no se ha producido y lo cierto es que, hoy por hoy, todos los agentes implicados siguen desconcertados sin saber bien cómo actuar.

De un lado, los ayuntamientos siguen exigiendo el pago del impuesto de acuerdo con unas reglas que han sido declaradas inconstitucionales. Entienden que la inconstitucionalidad solo afecta a las situaciones de inexistencia de incremento de valor, cuya determinación depende de la aprobación de reglas específicas por parte del legislador estatal, por lo que deben seguir aplicando la ley en los mismos términos en que venían haciéndolo estos últimos años.

De otro lado, los contribuyentes consideran injusto pagar un impuesto declarado inconstitucional, por lo que deciden iniciar un largo proceso de impugnaciones para lograr la anulación de esos actos de liquidación tributaria.

Finalmente, en esa controversia, los Tribunales de Justicia deben decidir si resulta o no exigible el pago del tributo. Pero lo que sucede es que algunos tribunales interpretan que las normas declaradas inconstitucionales siguen en vigor (porque el fallo de la sentencia establece una condición), mientras que otros, entre los que se incluyen los Tribunales Superiores de Justicia de Madrid, Castilla y León (Burgos), Cataluña y Navarra, consideran que dichas normas han sido expulsadas del ordenamiento jurídico y resulta improcedente exigir el pago del impuesto.

Esa divergencia en la interpretación de la jurisprudencia constitucional ha provocado que en los primeros meses de 2018 hayan sido admitidos a trámite más de cuarenta recursos de casación contra las sentencias que resuelven estos conflictos, lo que indica la gravedad de la situación y la necesidad de que el Tribunal Supremo se pronuncie sobre esta cuestión y establezca una doctrina única vinculante para todos los tribunales.

Precisamente, se acaba de publicar una relevante sentencia del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Navarra, de 6 de febrero de 2018, dictada en un recurso de casación autonómico, en la que el Tribunal considera inexigible el impuesto porque las reglas de determinación de la base imponible han sido expulsadas del ordenamiento jurídico por la sentencia del Tribunal Constitucional. Ello significa que, a partir de ahora, todos los tribunales de Navarra deberán estimar los recursos interpuestos contra las liquidaciones del impuesto exigidas por transmisiones realizadas hasta el 15 de julio de 2017, fecha en la que entró en vigor la Ley Foral 19/2017, de 27 de diciembre, que modifica la regulación originaria para adecuarla a las exigencias de la correspondiente sentencia del Tribunal Constitucional.

La situación, como se desprende de lo expuesto, es especialmente sensible. Y todavía puede serlo más en el llamado territorio común, porque el legislador aún no ha aprobado la reforma exigida para adecuar la normativa del tributo a la Sentencia del Tribunal Constitucional 59/2017, de 11 de mayo, que declaró la inconstitucionalidad de la Ley Reguladora de las Haciendas Locales. Si bien el pasado 9 de marzo se publicó en el Boletín Oficial de las Cortes Generales una proposición de ley del Grupo Popular por la cual se introducirían las modificaciones oportunas, no está claro cuál será el devenir de esta iniciativa legislativa a la vista del difícil equilibrio parlamentario existente.

En este contexto, si el Tribunal Supremo también considerase que los preceptos declarados inconstitucionales han sido expulsados del ordenamiento jurídico, procedería la devolución de todas las cantidades pagadas por liquidaciones (no firmes) dictadas en los últimos cuatro años, cuyo importe podría ascender a varios miles de millones de euros. Además, al no haberse modificado todavía la Ley de Haciendas Locales en los términos exigidos por el Tribunal Constitucional, los ayuntamientos no podrían seguir exigiendo el pago del impuesto, lo que les ocasionaría una relevante pérdida de ingresos y, en muchos casos, un importante desequilibrio presupuestario.

(Artículo publicado en Cinco Días el 9 de abril de 2018)

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