Active subject – What is it, definition and concept

The active subject is the creditor of the tax debt, that is, this concept encompasses the holders of the performance or collection of a public nature that can demand compliance with the tax.

As with the passive subject, the active subject is a necessary element of the tax obligation. There must be a creditor who demands compliance with the tax payment, that is, the active subject. And in turn, there must be a debtor who is obliged to comply with the payment of the tax debt, that is, the taxpayer.

It is necessary to differentiate well between the Public Administration and the holder of the tax power. The first holds the normative power, that is, it makes the tax regulations. Instead, the holder of the tax power is the public entity that is truly dedicated to the collection of taxes.

Because the tax obligation is not within private law, but is part of public law, the creditor will be public. In Spain, the main creditor is the State Tax Administration Agency (AEAT).

Functions of the active subject

The functions of the active subject, as could be those of any creditor in the private sphere, are:

  1. Power to postpone the payment of the tax debt due to the economic situation of the obliged subject.
  2. The creditor/holder of the tax power is the one who has the obligation to demonstrate or prove that tax credit.
  3. Apply the prescription of the tax obligation.
  4. Accept compensation as a different means of payment of the obligation.
  5. To be able to demand the subsidiary responsibility of the payment obligation in favor of a third party.
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What objectives does the active subject pursue? What are their characteristics?

The State usually appoints a legal person to manage the payment of taxes. In Spain it is the AEAT, in Colombia it is the Directorate of National Taxes and Customs of Colombia (DIAN), in Mexico it is the Tax Administration Service (SAT) and in Argentina it is the Federal Administration of Public Revenues (AFIP). These are just some examples.

The common objectives and characteristics of these entities are the following:

  1. Apply tax legislation.
  2. Manage and collect state-owned taxes (Personal Income Tax, Corporation Tax, VAT, etc.).
  3. Inspect compliance with the tax obligation.
  4. Collaborate when tax offenses have been committed against the Public Treasury.
  5. Facilitate and encourage voluntary compliance.
  6. Inform and evaluate the tax policy.
  7. These public-legal entities do not have regulatory power, that is, they cannot establish or issue tax regulations. That is done by the Public Administration.

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