The institution of active grief - what is it and what is it about?
People running a company often hear about the threat of committing a tax offense involving huge sums, without relating it to themselves. However, they should be aware of the fact that also in a small, one-person activity, there may be situations which, from a legal point of view, will be punishable by law. It is very important that such an event does not always have to be intentional - but it may result from ignorance, neglect or missed deadlines. What should be done in such a situation? The best solution is the institution of active regret! Check in which cases it can be folded!
A misdemeanor or a crime
Of course, not every illegal activity will be immediately considered a criminal offense. In the Fiscal Penal Code, the legislator distinguished two types of offenses, dividing them according to the social harmfulness of the act. Accordingly, a fiscal offense is understood as a prohibited act for which the fine has been specified in the code in amount. However, if five times the unpaid arrears exceeded the minimum wage for the period of the offense, it will be considered a tax offense. For this act, the amount of the fine is set in daily rates. Additionally, the taxpayer may be punished with restriction or imprisonment.
Moreover, a significant difference between the abovementioned prohibited acts is the fact that the debtor is entered into the National Court Register only in the event of a crime. This does not take place when an offense has been committed.
Art. 16 of the Fiscal Penal Code - the institution of active grief
The Fiscal Penal Code provides a rescue for people who have committed a prohibited act. According to its Art. 16, the perpetrator of an offense or a fiscal offense will not be subject to penalty when he notifies the relevant authority appointed to prosecute about committing such an act. The Code also emphasizes that in such a situation the essential circumstances of the incident and the people who co-operated in its commission must be disclosed. Such self-accusation in the face of the tax authorities is known as the institution of active grief.
A very common and easy to commit offense is failure to submit the declaration on time or failure to pay or reduce the tax liability. It is unlikely that in the event of a one-off delay or a mistake that was immediately corrected, the tax office would impose negative consequences on the taxpayer. However, when such proceedings become frequent, persistent, or one-off, but prolonged in time, law enforcement agencies may draw attention to them.
Therefore, in a situation where the taxpayer becomes aware that for some reason he has committed an offense or a fiscal offense, he should act as soon as possible.
The institution of active grief - the method of submission
The taxpayer is obliged to report active grief to the appropriate tax office. He may do it in writing or present it orally for the record.
When reporting, the perpetrator is required to present the entire incident and describe its relevant circumstances. It is necessary to indicate one's own fault, but also all the accomplices, if there are any. If required by the situation, the taxpayer is obliged to cooperate with the appropriate law enforcement authority in order to prevent the commission of the prohibited act by the participants.
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Recognition of active grief
However, self-prosecution may not be effective in all cases. In addition to reporting active grief, additional conditions must be met - only then can the tax authorities ensure impunity for the perpetrator. In addition, there are also a number of reasons where the submission of an active grief will not be taken into account during the activities of law enforcement agencies.
The basic condition for recognizing the validity of the reported active grief is the settlement of neglected obligations by the taxpayer. This means that he must submit forgotten declarations and pay reduced public law liabilities. For this purpose, the law enforcement authority should indicate to the payer new deadlines. If, on the other hand, it happens that the taxpayer's conduct may result in the obligatory forfeiture of items, the perpetrator will be obliged to submit these items or - in a situation where there is a risk of their spoilage or destruction - to pay their equivalent.
Pursuant to Art. 16 par. 5 of the Penal and Fiscal Code, self-indictment will not bring benefits to the perpetrator, if at that time the law enforcement authority already has clearly documented information that a crime or misdemeanor has been committed. It is similar in a situation where a law enforcement agency has already taken some official activities - e.g. searches or inspections aimed at disclosing a prohibited act. In the case of such activities, active regret may help only if the actions taken by the law enforcement agency did not provide grounds for initiating proceedings for a specific offense.
In addition to the temporary exclusion, the code also provides for situations that obligatorily prevent the use of the institution of active grief. Pursuant to Art. 16 par. 6 self-accusation does not guarantee impunity to the person who directed the execution of the prohibited act or organized and headed the group that was assembled for this very purpose. The exception is when the whole group has made the notification and active grief. Self-prosecution will also not help the perpetrator who forced or induced a dependent or other person to commit a prohibited act, but in order to bring proceedings for this act against him.
The institution of active regret in practice
This active regret helps in situations caused by neglect, forgetfulness or - simply - mess. Therefore, when the taxpayer finds documents from previous tax years that, according to the regulations, should be settled earlier, he should also submit a self-indictment along with the settlement of outstanding receivables. The same should be done in the event of failure to submit the declaration within the deadline.
It is also important to properly proceed in the case of an entity with a more complex structure - e.g. an organization. Where more than one person is (or may be) responsible for the offense committed, the self-indictment should be signed by all who may have contributed in some way to the offense.
Active regret is not made in the case of submitting a correction. This means that if the taxpayer submits to the office a correction of the annual tax return, when he underestimated the due tax due to a mistake, he is automatically not subject to any penalty.
It is important, however, that active grief should be separated from any penalties that are charged in connection with the resulting tax arrears. Therefore, in a situation where the taxpayer has not paid the tax, self-prosecution is possible along with the settlement of the receivables. However, this does not release the entrepreneur from paying the statutory interest that has been accrued from the payment date. This is because active regret protects only against fiscal penal consequences.
The provision that an active grievance does not guarantee a clean criminal record may prove problematic when the law enforcement agency already had clearly documented information about committing a prohibited act. It may happen that in a situation where, for example, the declaration is not submitted on time, the office will refer to the fact that it had evidence - the lack of a declaration proves that an offense has been committed. In the event that such an event is incidental, officials most often agree to the request for active grief. However, in the event of persistent submission of declarations after the deadline, they may nevertheless refer to the clearly documented fact of the offense.
Active regret is an institution that can prove very helpful and protect the entrepreneur from the consequences of committing an offense or a fiscal offense. Although its name may have negative associations - rather nobody likes to admit guilt - it is worth protecting yourself in this really very simple way against possible penal fiscal consequences.