Entrepreneur's control book - what is it?

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Entrepreneurs are required to keep various types of documentation, which should include, inter alia, trader control book. What exactly is it and when does the obligation to conduct it arise?

Entrepreneur control

The control of economic activity is carried out on the basis of the provisions of the Act - Entrepreneurs' Law. As a rule, it is planned and carried out after analyzing the probability of infringements by the designated undertaking. Inspections are most often initiated as a result of detection of irregularities by relevant authorities or reports of employees or consumers.

We should remember that each planned inspection must, as a rule, be notified in advance to the given entrepreneur. However, if appropriate verification activities are to prevent a crime or misdemeanor, such notification is not necessary.

Entrepreneur's control book

Pursuant to Art. 57 sec. 1–2 Entrepreneurs' rights The entrepreneur keeps and stores the inspection book as well as authorizations and inspection protocols in his seat. This book is an indispensable document that must appear in the company from the very first inspection. The place of its storage is, of course, the seat of the entrepreneur.

A person conducting any business activity is obliged to keep not only the inspection book, but also all documentation related to inspection activities, i.e.

  • notifications about the initiation of control;

  • authorizations to carry out inspections granted to specific persons by the inspection body;

  • control protocols;

  • documentation related to post-inspection recommendations, including all administrative decisions regarding the imposition of penalties on the entrepreneur;

  • the entrepreneur's appeals against post-control decisions and all administrative decisions.

The audit book may be kept both in paper and electronic form. There are no obstacles for the entrepreneur to use these two solutions - the traditional form of the book will contain the original documents, while the electronic form will contain their digital copies. It is worth adding that the electronic form is a particularly good solution for companies with extensive activities, whose branches are located in many different places in the country or the world - the entrepreneur has access to specific control documentation from any place and basically at any time. However, the digital audit book should be properly secured.

What is in the Entrepreneur Audit Book?

The inspection book must contain entries including:

  • designation of the inspection body,

  • designation of the inspection authorization,

  • the material scope of the inspection carried out,

  • the dates of commencement and completion of the inspection.

However, the legislator did not present any model or form that must be used when creating the audit book - this applies to both its written and traditional form. In this respect, a person running a business has full freedom and freedom. The audit book can therefore take the form of binders, a separate dedicated paper book, or even a folder or set of files on the computer. In practice, it takes the form of a table with individual columns for entering the necessary data.

Entrepreneur's audit book - how long should it be kept?

Control over the entrepreneur may be initiated in principle at any time. As a result, the obligation to keep the audit book is indefinite - it lasts as long as the given economic activity is performed. Of course, upon its completion, the obligation to have an inspection book is no longer required.

Entrepreneur's control book - what obligations?

Having and storing an audit book is the primary responsibility of every entrepreneur. However, he must remember about the necessity to present the book at the request of each auditor - even when it concerns audits carried out many years earlier, which did not reveal any irregularities.

However, what if the entrepreneur is subject to several inspections at the same time, e.g. fiscal and concession inspection? In this situation, it is generally impossible to make the audit trail available to all auditors. On the other hand, if a given company keeps a book in two forms (written and digital), each of the controllers may receive access to the book in various forms. Of course, the entrepreneur is not obliged to keep the audit book in several forms - the legislator requires only one copy of the book. In this case, an exemption from the obligation to present the book at the request of the inspector is introduced, provided that it is currently in the possession of another competent checking body. Remember, however, that the entrepreneur must present the book within 3 working days from the date of its return - this obligation should be performed at the seat of the inspection body. In order to avoid problems in such a situation, it is worth having a book in a digital form, which can be made available to many control entities at the same time and only by means of electronic communication.

Entrepreneur's inspection book - what can the inspection body do?

We already know that the entrepreneur must provide the inspection book at the request of each controlling authority - however, this does not mean that the inspector has the right to take it outside the company's seat. The book must be made available at the entrepreneur's seat or, exceptionally, at the seat of the controlling authority, but in the presence of an employee controlled or designated by him. Such regulation is to counteract possible abuses on the part of inspectors, e.g. in the form of adding false information to previous inspections or destroying existing documents.

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Entrepreneur's inspection book - what penalties?

It turns out that the Polish legislator did not introduce any regulations related to the violation of the provisions on the possession of an audit book into the Entrepreneurs' Law. In practice, this means that there are no sanctions for violating the obligation to have and update the audit book. In other words, there is an obligation to have such documentation, but failure to implement it does not have any consequences, at least for the auditors themselves.

A similar situation applies to failure to present the audit book at the controller's request. If the trader fails to comply with this obligation, the regulatory body has no legal means to punish such a person. Therefore, the entrepreneur cannot be effectively forced to present the control book, especially when there are suspicions of fraud on his part. We should remember, however, that in this situation, the inspectors may describe the refusal to present the book in the post-inspection report, but this cannot have any impact on the activities performed as part of the current inspection. Interestingly, such a situation will also take place when the entrepreneur provides a completely empty control book, despite the fact that he was previously inspected.

Despite the fact that the control body is not able to punish the entrepreneur for the lack or failure to present the control book, it can be done by the relevant tax authorities. According to the content of Art. 83 of the Fiscal Penal Code, who is prevented or hindered by the person authorized to carry out checking activities, tax control, customs and fiscal control, audit or audit activities, in particular who, against the request of that person, does not present the book or other document concerning the conducted business activity or a book or other document shall be destroyed, damaged, rendered useless, hidden or deleted, subject to a fine of up to 720 daily rates. In the event of a minor offense, the perpetrator of this act is subject to a fine for a tax offense.

In practice, the inspectors may therefore notify the relevant tax authorities about the lack of the inspection book or the refusal to present it, which will result in the initiation of fiscal penal proceedings.

The Supreme Court's judgment of 19 June 2002 (file reference number V KKN 454/00):
Unfavorable, uncultivated or even rude treatment of the controllers cannot be regarded as exhaustive behavior, the verb mark "makes it difficult" within the meaning of Art. 83 of the Civil Code After all, a tax offense within the meaning of Art. 83 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is to prevent or obstruct the performance of an official activity by an authorized person. For example, the Act mentions enforcement activities that are frustrating or difficult. These are: refusal to show a book, its destruction, damage, rendering it useless, hiding or deleting it. Therefore, it does not constitute a refusal to present the book, the inability to present it by the employee of the controlled entity present at the moment, or a request addressed to the controlling entity for a written specification of the documents to be presented and the date of such presentation.

Undoubtedly, in the sense of art. 83 of the Code of Commercial Companies is also not a change of the room made available to the inspecting person, despite the fact that as a rule it is associated with temporary confusion and causes a situation of temporary embarrassment

Entrepreneur's control book - summary

An entrepreneur's inspection book is a form of a collection of documentation of inspections carried out in a given company. The obligation to have it and update it is the responsibility of every person engaged in business activity. The audit book may be kept both in paper and electronic form. The entrepreneur may not keep such a book or refuse to make it available to the inspector, however, he is then exposed to fiscal penal liability in the form of a fine.