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Poland: criminal penalties for VAT fraud — bill approved by Parliament

On 10 February 2017, the lower chamber of the Parliament (Sejm) approved a bill amending the Criminal Code  (Kodeks karny), which introduces new types of criminal offences and penalties related to VAT  fraud.

The following provisions are envisaged:

  • Persons who falsify and use as authentic invoices received (regarding facts that may be of relevance for the determination of taxes and their refund) are subject to imprisonment from six months to eight years (article 270a(1)). If the value of a single falsified invoice or the total value of falsified invoices exceeds PLN5 million or committing such offences constitutes a permanent source of income, the minimum imprisonment is three years (article 270a(2)). If the value of a single falsified invoice or the total value of falsified invoices exceeds PLN10 million, the person is subject to imprisonment from 5 to 25 years. In cases of committing offences of lesser gravity, a criminal penalty, the restriction of liberty or imprisonment of up to 2 years may be imposed (article 270a(3)). The criminal penalties can reach PLN6 million
  • Also, persons who issue invoices evidencing false facts where these facts are of relevance for determining the amount of tax or tax refund (article 271a) are subject to imprisonment and other criminal charges similar to those applying to persons falsifying and using invoices already issued
  • Subject to further conditions, an extraordinary mitigation of penalties may apply upon request of a prosecutor (article 277c(1)). As such, a person, who in given circumstances may be subject to imprisonment of 5 to 25 years and who, without being prompted, discloses all relevant information about the offence may be subject to the mitigation of the penalty. If, additionally, the person returns an entire or an essential part of the benefit gained from the offence, he may be subject to further mitigation of the penalty (article 277c(3))
  • Persons who commit offences of lesser gravity may be subject to a waiver of the penalties if a material benefit from these offences was returned entirely or in a substantial part (article 277c(2))

When approved by the higher chamber of the Parliament (Senat) and signed by the President, the provisions will enter into force on 1 March 2017.

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