Volume 46 (2018) / Issue 6/7
The judicial protection of the taxpayer’s fundamental rights is still not fully implemented in Italy nor even in Europe. Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention) – with its dichotomy of ‘rights and civil obligations/criminal charges’ – avoids guaranteeing a full and an effective protection. EU law and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights possess a strong and wider legal force, despite their being effective only within the competences under Article 5 of the EU Treaty. The jurisprudence of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation currently still tends to exclude the automatic application of the guarantees of Article 6 of the Convention, even in tax penalty matters. In this context, the Italian Constitution and the so-called Pinto Law – which implements the remedy pursuant to Article 13 of the Convention to ensure that proceedings conclude within a reasonable time – should be taken into consideration. Although national legal systems cannot offer less protection than Conventional or EU law, it is entirely possible that national legal systems may provide greater protection than Conventional or EU law. From this perspective, the correct interpretation of Italian legal rules would allow the application of the principle of reasonable duration of proceedings, in the context of purely tax matters.
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