Administrative Authorities for Dealing with Tax Disputes in Iran


If disputes arise between taxpayers and the government in the implementation of tax regulations and the government, these disputes are dealt with in various bodies according to specific regulations. Authorities for dealing with tax disputes include the Initial and Appeal Boards of Tax Disputes, the Supreme Tax Council, and the Committee on Article 251 of the Direct Taxation Act.


Authorities for dealing with disputes in Iran are divided into two categories: judicial and administrative. Judicial authorities refer to the judiciary and its subdivisions, while administrative authorities deal with non-judicial disputes.


One of the most important administrative authorities in Iran is the authority for dealing with tax dispute resolution. These authorities deal with taxpayers’ disputes with the Iranian National Tax Administration (INTA). Dealing with tax dispute resolution authorities has a specific process and method of objection which is mentioned in the Direct Taxation Act; therefore, taxpayers must pay attention to these regulations in order to object and follow up accordingly.


A – Administrative Appeals

The first recourse for resolving a dispute between a taxpayer and INTA is the internal administrative appeals within the organization. If the taxpayer objects within thirty days of receiving the “Determination Notice 1″, their objection will be administratively reviewed. If the dispute is not resolved at this stage between the taxpayer and the tax authority, the case will be referred to the Tax Dispute Resolution Board.


B – Immediate Tax Dispute Resolution Board

The Immediate Tax Dispute Resolution Board is the first external recourse outside the tax authority to which taxpayers’ objections are referred.

Each Tax Dispute Resolution Board consists of three members:

1- One representative of INTA

2- One judge, employed or retired

3- One representative from associations or professional councils


The members of the boards must independently consider the matter and maintain complete impartiality. The presence of all three members is required for a session to be formal, but in voting, a majority vote is not binding.


INTA will be responsible for the administration of the dispute resolution boards, and the members’ remuneration will be provided from the organization’s budget. Taxpayers may send a representative to attend the session. However, their absence will not prevent the board from proceeding with the case. The decisions of these boards are not final, and there is a possibility of appeal to the Tax Dispute Resolution Board for reconsideration.


C- Tax Dispute Appeal Board

According to Article 247 of the Direct Taxation Act, if the rulings of the secondary dispute resolution board are objected to in writing within twenty days of notification (as per Article 203) by taxpayers or tax authorities, the matter will be reviewed by the Tax Dispute Appeal Board. The Appeal Board consists of three members as specified in Article 244 and convenes with the presence of all three members. It is natural that the members of the Appeal Board should not have already expressed opinions or voted on the presented matter beforehand.


The decision of the tax dispute resolution board must contain valid and substantiated opinions on the objection raised, and if a decision is made to adjust the taxable income, the reasons and justifications for such adjustment should be stated in the decision. Furthermore, the Tax Dispute Appeal Board is obligated to cite the sources of calculations in the decision, and in case of any miscalculations, revise the decision upon the request of the taxpayer or the relevant assessing authority.”

In general, the hearings in the boards are conducted in person, and the petitioners or their representative, as well as a representative from INTA, can attend the hearing. The time and date of the hearing must be notified to them, and the notification date and the day of the hearing must not be less than ten days. However, their absence will not prevent the board from conducting the hearing.


D- Supreme Tax Council

The Supreme Tax Council is considered as the supreme authority with important responsibilities and in some cases serves as an advisory arm to the director general of INTA or the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance.

The Supreme Tax Council is composed of 25 members selected from knowledgeable and experienced individuals in legal, economic, financial, accounting, and auditing matters, who hold at least a bachelor’s degree, based on the recommendation of the director general of INTA and the appointment by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance. The membership term is three years and during this period, the members are not subject to change.

One of the responsibilities of the Supreme Tax Council is to review the final decisions of the Tax Dispute Resolution Boards regarding complaints filed by taxpayers or the Inspector General in cases of non-compliance with relevant laws and regulations or deficiencies in handling.


In this regard, the Supreme Tax Council consists of eight branches, each composed of three members. The proceedings in the Supreme Tax Council are formal, and if a decision of the dispute resolution board is violated, it will be referred to another board which is obligated to act according to the opinion of the council.

The Supreme Tax Council can also issue unified decisions, which are binding for the council’s branches and the dispute resolution boards. These decisions are issued by the General Board of the Supreme Tax Council upon referral by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, the Director General of INTA, or the Chairman of the Supreme Tax Council. In such cases, the Supreme Tax Council convenes with the presence of its chairman and the heads of branches, reviews the matter in dispute, and makes a decision. The General Board’s decision is made with a two-thirds majority of its members.

E– Board Established under Article 251 of the Direct Taxation Act

This board serves as an extraordinary means for filing complaints regarding finalized taxes, which cannot be raised before any other authority due to the expiration of objection deadlines. This procedure is also applicable to indirect taxes. The directive for review by this board, issued by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, is referred to a panel of three members selected by the minister. The majority vote is final and binding. Naturally, the decisions of this three-member panel can also be appealed to the Administrative Justice Court.


F– Administrative Justice Court

The Administrative Justice Court, as a judicial body, supervises the performance of executive agencies, boards, and commissions through judicial review. If taxpayers have complaints about the decisions of tax dispute resolution authorities, they can refer to this court. The court’s supervision is carried out in three ways:


Reviewing complaints, grievances, and objections from natural or legal persons against bylaws, other government regulations, and municipal ordinances, regarding their inconsistency with the law, the incompetence of the issuing authority, or misuse of authority, which falls under the jurisdiction of the General Board of the Administrative Justice Court (Clause 1 of Article 11 of the Law on the Administrative Justice Court). This is executed through the annulment of such decrees or circulars.


Reviewing objections and complaints against the decisions and resolutions of tax commissions (Clause 2 of Article 11 of the Law on the Administrative Justice Court). This clause involves reviewing objections and complaints against the decisions of the Tax Dispute Resolution Commissions, the Supreme Tax Council, or the board established under Article 251, with the court having the jurisdiction to address these issues.


In cases where the objection deadlines have expired, it appears that under Clause 2 of Article 11 of the Law on the Administrative Justice Court, this court has the authority to review finalized tax notices as well, since issuing a finalized tax notice is considered a decision and action by a government unit that can be directly brought before the Administrative Justice Court.


I– Board Under Article 216 of the Direct Taxation Act

The board under Article 216 of the Direct Taxation Act is the authority for addressing objections and complaints arising from tax enforcement actions. For instance, if a taxpayer has a complaint regarding the actions of INTA in collecting taxes before the completion of the case review process or concerning the amount and method of calculating indirect taxes, they can file a complaint with the board under Article 216 of the Direct Taxation Act. Examples of such complaints include:


  1. Objection to the seizure of property that is exempt from debt enforcement.
  2. A third party claims that their property has been seized instead of the taxpayer’s.
  3. Allegation of the absence of legal conditions for notification, followed by an objection to the process of executing enforcement actions.


The jurisdiction stipulated in the clauses of Article 216 of the Direct Tax Act pertains to two issues: one, complaints regarding tax collection before finalization, and the other, reviewing the taxpayer’s complaint about the illegality of demanding indirect taxes.


Regarding the manner and deadline for objecting to the decisions of the board under Article 216 of the Direct Taxation Act, it is necessary to differentiate based on the reviewing authority. There is a legal debate about the possibility of simultaneous objections in both the Supreme Tax Council and the Administrative Justice Court. However, judicial practice accepts both objections. Nonetheless, filing an objection with the Administrative Justice Court is contingent upon the non-expiration of the legal deadline.