Fiscal penalties - 2013
The amounts of penalties for fiscal crimes and offenses as well as the limits of liability for committed acts have been changed for some time every year, as of January 1. This is due to the fact that these amounts depend on the minimum wage. Also in 2013, there are new, higher fiscal penalties for fiscal crimes and offenses. At the same time, the statutory amount of unpaid tax was increased, which makes a given act a crime.
A misdemeanor or a crime?
Detailed information on the difference between the two acts is provided by the Fiscal Penal Code. In art. 53, we find information that a fiscal offense is a prohibited act under penalty of a fine specified in amount, if the amount of the depleted (or subject to depletion) public law debt does not exceed five times the minimum wage at the time of its commission. On the other hand, a fiscal offense is an act prohibited by the code under penalty of a daily fine, imprisonment or restriction of liberty.
Due to the fact that from January 2013, the minimum gross remuneration for work is PLN 1,600, regulated by the ordinance of the Council of Ministers, the limit between an offense and a fiscal crime is PLN 8,000. PLN (5 x PLN 1,600). Therefore, if we are dealing with a reduction in receivables, the value of which has not exceeded this amount, then we are talking about a tax offense.
It should also be remembered that the legislator has created a catalog of acts which, regardless of the amount of depletion, are always considered a tax offense. They are, among others:
- tax evasion,
- concealment of running a business,
- tax fraud,
- violation of the tax payment deadline,
- not keeping the books of accounts,
- failure to issue an invoice or bill,
- groundless tax refund,
- failure to perform supervision.
It is worth paying attention to three things. Firstly, increasing the discussed limits of liability works to the benefit of the perpetrator. Pursuant to Art. 2 par. 2 of the Fiscal Penal Code, more favorable boundaries should be applied to a specific act, so even if the act was committed in 2012 and came to light after January 1, 2013, new limits apply to it.
Secondly, offenses and fiscal offenses are related to a continuous act - it is therefore possible to count the losses incurred over a period of six months. Then this sum added will determine which of the two acts has occurred.
Thirdly, this distinction is important primarily from the point of view of the threat of a penalty and possible procedure, but also due to entries in the National Criminal Register - only liability for a fiscal offense is entered there. What does this mean for the taxpayer? When committing an act that amounts to the amount of the offense, he will not be entered in the Register as a punished person.
In the event of a tax offense, Polish law always provides for one penalty - a fine in the range from one tenth to twenty times the amount of the minimum gross wage, unless the code provides otherwise. In accordance with the changes in force from the beginning of 2013, the fine for a tax offense ranges from PLN 160 to PLN 32 thousand. zloty.
In the case of an offense, it is possible to end the proceedings at the stage conducted by the tax office (so the case is not brought to court). Then the penalty is a fine, the minimum amount of which is also PLN 160, and the maximum - PLN 3,200.
A tax offense, on the other hand, is always connected with proceedings concluded in court. Here, the legislator has provided for 3 types of punishment:
- restriction of freedom,
It is worth noting that imprisonment may result in a really significant reduction in the tax amount. Up to the amount of PLN 320 thousand PLN, the perpetrators face "only" a fine.
A fine for a fiscal offense is imposed in the system of daily rates and results from the multiplication of one rate by their number. The rate cannot be lower than 1/30 of the minimum wage, while its maximum value is 400 times this 1/30. The number of daily rates ranges from 10 to 720 (depending on the severity of the crime committed), so in 2013 the fine for a fiscal offense ranges from PLN 533.40 to PLN 15,359,997.60. When determining the daily rate, the court takes into account the perpetrator's income, personal and family conditions, property relations and earning potential.
Increasing the limits of fines for minor offenses and fiscal offenses is unfavorable for taxpayers. Therefore, Art. 2. par. 2 of the Fiscal Penal Code, however, in the case of fines, higher rates, as unfavorable to the perpetrator, may not be applied to acts committed before the amendments. It is worth noting that the imposed fine may not exceed the upper limit applicable in the year in which the act was committed.
All taxpayers, and in particular those who are unscrupulous, should be careful, because the trends in Polish tax law indicate that penalties for tax offenses and crimes will become more severe every year. Knowing the relevant regulations and taking a certain amount of caution when making your settlements can help you avoid unnecessary stress and unpleasant consequences.