Tax customs & excise /

Customs and fiscal inspections more frequent again

According to data from the National Fiscal Administration, in 2021 its services conducted 2.9 thousand checking procedures in companies. The value of tax evasion detected this way amounted to PLN 5.6 billion. Traditionally, VAT tax accounted for the largest share of these losses (PLN 3.8 billion).

Customs and fiscal inspections as a whip on fraudsters

Compared to the previous year, customs and fiscal inspections have increased. There were by 26 percent (600 cases) more of them. This is the first such increase since 2016. The reason? Fiscal cites it as a result of easing pandemic restrictions.

However, compared to previous years, the number of actions to check tax returns in Poland in businesses is still more than three times lower. The tax authorities explain it by the fact that they focus more on selecting companies for explanatory proceedings. It does it on the basis of risk analysis.

The idea is to spare honest entities from difficulties. Practice shows that in most cases customs and fiscal control is burdensome for a company. Among other things, it involves some employees, who cannot perform their duties normally during that time. This lowers their productivity and hinders the company’s day-to-day operations.

Detected versus collected tax damages

However, there has been no change in the trend of decreasing value of tax damages detected as a result of tax checking procedures, which has continued since 2017. In the middle of the previous decade, employees of the National Fiscal Administration identified irregularities oscillating around PLN 20 billion.

As a consequence, the value of damage per proceeding is decreasing. Last year, it amounted to PLN 1.9 million. In 2018-2020 it was within the range of PLN 3-4 million.

However, it should be noted that the amount of established tax damages does not translate completely into budget revenues. Their real collectability is lower.

For example, in 2021, it was PLN 1.6 billion, i.e. less than 1/3 of the value of initially detected frauds. In the previous year, it amounted to PLN 1.3 billion with the findings oscillating around PLN 7 billion. This is due to the fact that part of the funds is blocked until the case is clarified, and only part is paid as a correction of tax declarations.

The most popular tax frauds

What are the most common reasons for customs and fiscal inspections? The two main reasons are:

  • hiding actual income to reduce the tax burden,
  • collecting undue tax refunds.

One of the practices consists of criminals registering companies in Poland and issuing fictitious invoices. On this basis, they reduce the value of VAT due or obtain tax refunds.

Author team leader DKP Legal
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