Determination No. 18-KG23-133-К4 of the Judicial Panel for Civil Cases of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of 31 October 2023
The heirs of a deceased individual entrepreneur filed suit to claim a refund of tax overpaid by the deceased. The lower courts denied the suit on grounds that the individual entrepreneur did not claim the refund during his lifetime. The courts argued that the right to a refund does not form part of the estate and cannot be inherited, inasmuch as the status of individual entrepreneur ceases upon the entrepreneur’s death.
The Supreme Court reminded the lower courts that money owed to a person, but not paid during his lifetime, are included in the estate, since tax law does not prohibit the inheritance of an overpayment and so cannot curtail the heirs’ rights to claim a refund. In addition, the principle of individual payment of tax does not in itself rule out legal succession and does not prevent heirs from claiming a refund of an overpayment.
This position of the Supreme Court is not new; it was previously taken in Cassation Determination No. 18-KАD22-33-К4 of the Supreme Court of 31 August 2022 and included in Letter No. BV-4-7/17924@ of the Federal Tax Service of 30 December 2022 “On a Summary of Legal Positions on Taxation That Were Set Forth in Judicial Acts of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and Adopted in the Third Quarter of 2022” and has been adopted in law enforcement practice (see Decision No. 2а-7340/2023~М-6326/2023 of the Podolsk City Court (Moscow Region) of 6 October 2023, the Default Judgment of the Gryazi City Court (Lipetsk Region) of 11 May 2023 in Case No. 2-201/2023, etc.).
Other cases in which the lower courts failed to consider the legal position taken in Determination No. 18-КАD22-33-К4 of the Supreme Court of 31 August 2022 on the right of heirs to claim a refund of overpaid tax are also likely to go to the Supreme Court.
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