One of the most important innovations brought by the law reforming the tax trials (Law no. 130 of 31 August 2022) is the possibility for the parties to request, upon certain conditions, witness evidence.
This is an absolute novelty since the old paragraph 4 of Article 7 of Legislative Decree 546/1992 (and before that the Presidential Decree 636/1972, as amended in 1981) provided that “Oath and witness evidence are not allowed“.
The case-law reduced the scope of that prohibition by allowing the taxpayer to introduce written statements from third parties into the tax trial. By doing so this case-law aimed at ensuring a better balance between the parties (as also considered essential by the case-law of the ECHR) since the tax authorities have the power to use declarations of third parties collected during the tax audits and convey them into the tax trial through the notice of assessment.
However, the value of such statements has always been that of clues, unsuitable by themselves to determine the decision of the tax court.
The reform just introduced, on the other hand, although with a whole series of procedural and substantive requirements, now introduces the written witness evidence as proper evidence.