On June 30, 2016, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice (CC of the SCJ) issued a decision on a request filed by the Union of Workers of ALCASA and other aluminium-producing companies (SINTRALCASA) for a constitutional interpretation of article 31 of the 2014 Income Tax Law,1 which regulates the taxable base for calculating income tax on employee remuneration.2
In the decision, the CC of the SCJ ruled the request inadmissible because it held that a request for constitutional interpretation is not the suitable action to deal with conflicts between legal provisions, the unconstitutionality of a legal norm or the infringement of binding judicial precedents.
However, in the ruling the CC of the SCJ expressly established that its previous decision issued in 2007 in Adriana Vigilanza and Carlos Vecchio3 is legally binding and has the authority of a final decision with respect to the scope and content of the provision that defines the taxable base of employee remuneration. In this 2007 decision, the CC of the SCJ ruled that only employee remuneration that is earned on a regular and permanent basis, namely the “normal salary,” is subject to Venezuelan income tax.
Even though the CC of the SCJ did not explicitly deal with the constitutionality of article 31 of the 2014 Income Tax Law in its latest ruling, this decision could reinforce the position that only employee remuneration that qualifies as normal salary is subject to Venezuelan income tax.
1 Published in Special Edition of Official Gazette No. 6,152 dated November 18, 2014
2 Ruling No. 499 of the CC of the SCJ
3 Ruling No. 301 of the CC of the SCJ dated February 27, 2007