Fiscal penal law

Fiscal penal law is intended to protect the fiscal system of the state from abuse. It is a highly specific branch of law.

This is because on the one hand, parties are subject to the most severe punishment foreseen by the Polish legal system – an imprisonment, and on the other hand fiscal penal law protects goods which for most of us is nearly imperceptible.

Fiscal penal law aims to guarantee that the inflow of funds into the state budget is not disturbed by actions which are illegal according to Polish law. For this purpose, many institutions have been created to serve this particular branch of law.

Fiscal penal law regulates the way in which liability for tax crimes and infringements is implemented. A tax infringement is an act which is forbidden by the Fiscal Penal Code, and is punishable by a fine, if the value of the loss of revenue or potential loss of revenue to the State Treasury does not exceed an amount which is five times the amount of the minimum monthly wage at the time of the alleged infringement. A tax crime is considered to be an act forbidden by the Fiscal Penal Code, punishable by fine, limitation of freedom, or imprisonment.

A key factor is the amount by which the State Treasury has been or may have been defrauded. It is this amount that in most cases decides whether the act is considered a tax crime, in other words a serious crime, or simply a tax infringement, in other words a simple failure to observe the tax regulations.

Frequently, In fiscal penal cases, the civil law circumstanceshave key importance. The essential feature of a dispute between a taxpayer and a tax authority is often that the tax authority questions the details of a contract entered into by a taxpayer, which is subject to civil law (most often sales contracts), and subsequently questions the invoice issued to document this transaction, a so-called blank invoice. Fiscal penal law causes this dispute to entail criminal liability. The taxpayer in a fiscal penal case becomes the accused, and the fiscal body takes on the role of the public prosecutor.

In these cases, the accused is entitled to rights which are similar to those held by the accused in criminal proceedings. In particular, the responsibility for proving guilt(burden of proof) rests on the public prosecutor. However, a specific situation arises, if tax proceedings have been initiated in aparticular case.

First, Tax authorities , in the tax proceedings, must make the claim that the taxpayer has not paid a tax in the required amount. Regard for this situation, a decision is issued which obliges the taxpayer to the payment of the specified amount. Next, the tax authority, appearing in the role of public prosecutor, presents the argument that the accused is guilty of the specified act because in the previous proceedings, the accused did not pay the liabilities. Of course, this is a logical conclusion, and what’s more the demonstration that a taxpayer has not paid a tax in the required amount is a necessary element for assigning liability for a tax crime. However, it must not be forgotten that paying a tax in an amount less than that required is not the same as committing a tax crime.

To convict an individual of a fiscal penal crime, it is necessary to demonstrate that the accused has committed acts which fulfil all the features of a crime, and not just one. Merely not paying a tax in the correct amount is not necessarily sufficient to lead to liability for a fiscal penal crime. Regarding a given act described in the Fiscal Penal Code, in order to prove liability all elements of the act as determined in the code must have been committed.