The Supreme Court obliges the treasury to visit property for value checks
The Supreme Court in Judgment of January 21 declares mandatory the visit of the expert for the verifications of values by the different regional haciendas to know if the purchase price of a purchased or inherited house is in line with the valuations of the treasury and thus pay the taxes of ITP and corresponding inheritances.
In this judgment of the Supreme Court, the obligatory nature of this visit by the expert has been ratified and thus verify the characteristics of: seniority, state of conservation qualities or materials used.
The objective is to compare that the price that has been paid for the house is in line with the figures handled by the Administration and thus collect the corresponding ITP or inheritance tax.
The obligation of the visit is determined by the jurisprudence by circumstances of antiquity, conservation or qualities or materials.
The visit would not be mandatory in the case of the valuation of unbuilt land, or garages. The Superior Court of Justice (TSJ) of Castilla La Mancha, in a judgment of 9-6-2020, has declared that any discrepancy in the surface of the property makes it necessary for the administration expert to visit the property under verification.
But there are autonomous communities such as Catalonia or the Canary Islands where the expert only went to the property if expressly requested by the taxpayer.
Currently there are several methods of checking values established by the General Tax Law,not only the opinion of experts, some resort to mortgage appraisal.
Although the Supreme Court clarifies that even if other valuation methods are used, the visit of the expert is mandatory. It considers that the assessment of the Administration “is not useful or necessary when the expert does not provide a criterion based on his experience or skill, but is limited to applying tables, comparisons or general data. That is, the Supreme Court criticizes the usual administrative practice of valuing properties based on tables and databases without examining the property in situ.
All of the above leads the Supreme Court to confirm that the expert’s visit is “an imperative and inexcusable general rule, the exception of which ad casum must therefore be rigorously justified.”
Guidelines of the Supreme Court of how the expert assessment should be:
- It must be reasoned on a case-by-case basis why the obligatory personal visit to the house is unnecessary.
- If similar property sales values are used, the samples obtained must be identified exactly.
- When the taxpayer has declared in accordance with the reference values approved by the Administration itself, the error of those values must be proven, and the reason for their correction. Or the taxpayer’s mistake in using them, because they were not applicable to him.
Finally, it is an important Judgment that can annul all those checks of values in which the expert has not visited the property without having justified the reasons for the absence of the visit. In any case, an expert should always visit the house to make a recognition of the property and thus avoid the valuation of each regional hacienda regulated in its figures.FULL ACCESS SUPREME JUDGMENT JANUARY 21 OBLIGATORY VISIT EXPERT