Difference between active and passive subject

The difference between the active subject and the passive subject is that the active subject is the creditor of the tax debt, that is, the public entity in charge of collecting taxes, while the passive subject is a natural or legal person who is obliged to comply with tax obligations.

Both the active subject and the passive subject are a necessity for the tax obligation to arise. As in any monetary obligation, there must be a creditor (active subject) and a debtor (taxable subject). The big difference between these two figures and that of the common creditor and debtor is that the payment obligation is based on public regulations and the creditor is not a private person, but rather the Tax Administration.

Tax law works with two clearly differentiated parts:

Difference Between Subject Act And Pas Page 0001

Active subject vs passive subject

We have the two parts of the mandatory tax relationship in these two figures:

  • Passive subject: Debtor. The taxpayer does not have to be the person who carries out the taxable event that gives rise to the tax obligation, it is simply the person obliged to comply with the taxes. That is, he can be the taxpayer or the substitute, depending on the tribute.
  • Active subject: Creditor. It is not the holder of the tax power that is responsible for creating the taxes, but the public entity whose function is to demand compliance with the tax and its collection.


The main differences between the active subject and the passive subject are the following:

  • Taxpayers can be natural persons or legal entities.
  • The active subjects can only be legal persons and of a public nature.
  • The taxpayer usually performs the taxable event that gives rise to an obligation, does not sign any contract with the active subject.
  • The active subject has the power to demand compliance with a tax debt through the law and not by virtue of a contract.
  • The passive subjects carry out the act and the active subject only receives the collection without having to make a consideration.
  • The active subject in a tax obligation is always the same and there are multiple taxpayers who respond to the same active subject.
  • The collection obtained by the active subject does not benefit the same, but indirectly benefits the taxpayer himself. This, through the contribution with the payment of taxes on public expenses.

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Elena Trujillo, February 02, 2022
Difference between active and passive subject. Economipedia.com

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