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1. Introduction

The Spanish tax system is modern and competitive. The Spanish State Tax Agency has distinguished itself through its technological leadership within the Government. Moreover, it is one of the most modernized European tax agencies, in the vanguard of offering electronic public services, such as the possibility of obtaining tax certificates or filing tax returns online (indeed, online filing is obligatory in many cases).

This tax system comprises three kinds of taxes: impuestos (true taxes), tasas (dues and fees) and contribuciones especiales (special levies). The tasas and contribuciones especiales are collected in return for a public service provided by the authorities or for any type of benefit as a result of public works or services.

From a territorial perspective, taxes in Spain are levied by the Central Government, by the Autonomous Communities (regional) and by local authorities. Due to their relevance, this chapter concentrates exclusively on the taxes levied by the Central Government (whether or not they are administered and collected by regional and local authorities), albeit with a brief reference to the special regimes applicable in the Canary Islands, the Basque Country and Navarra.

Due to the health crisis triggered by the outbreak of COVID-19, the Spanish Government approved various tax regulations in the first months of 2020 which, on general terms, affect the calculation of the time periods for administrative and judicial purposes (statute of limitations, duration of inspection proceedings, filing of appeals or claims) and of the periods for filing and paying some taxes. Also, the Autonomous Communities, municipal governments, the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, and the provincial governments, within their respective jurisdictional scopes competence area, have approved numerous tax measures, generally aimed at granting deferrals in the filing of tax returns and the payment of taxes, and in some cases even establishing tax relief and incentives.

Given the extraordinary and temporary nature of these measures, we have not included them in this Guide.