Penal sanctions for failure to submit a VAT return


One of the basic obligations of an entrepreneur is to submit appropriate tax declarations. Pursuant to the provisions of the VAT Act, taxpayers of this tax are required to submit tax declarations (VAT-7 or VAT-7K) to the tax office. Nobody will remind the entrepreneur about the need to deliver the VAT-7 (or VAT-7K) to the office, unless the statutory deadline expires. However, it is better to prevent such a situation and to keep an eye on the applicable dates, because the taxpayer may face criminal penalties for failing to submit a VAT declaration.

Obligation to submit a "zero" VAT return

A very important information is that entrepreneurs are also required to submit the so-called "Zero" VAT-7 and VAT-7K declarations. This applies to situations where the taxpayer did not perform any taxable activity in a given period. The lack of the submitted declaration means that the tax authorities do not have any information on whether the taxpayer should pay the amount of VAT due or whether he did not perform any taxable activity.

The obligation to send an electronic VAT declaration from January 2017 (or Q1 2017) applies to taxpayers:

  • obliged to register as EU VAT taxpayers;
  • who are suppliers of goods or provide services for which the taxpayer is the buyer in accordance with art. 17 sec. 1 points 7 and 8, and the buyers of these goods or services (participants of the reverse-charge trading);
  • obliged, in accordance with Art. 45ba of the Act of July 26, 1991 on personal income tax or art. 27 sec. 1c of the Act of February 15, 1992 on corporate income tax, for the submission of declarations, information and the annual tax calculation by means of electronic communication.


The obligation to send an electronic VAT declaration will apply to all taxpayers, without exception, from January 2018.

Penalty for late submission of the tax return

Failure to comply with the obligation to submit a VAT-7 declaration within the statutory deadline may constitute an offense. First of all, it is worth noting that the failure to meet the deadline itself is not punishable. It depends on the assessment of the tax authority, which checks whether the taxpayer in such a case acted intentionally (i.e. he wanted to commit a prohibited act or simply agreed to it). The social harmfulness of such an oversight is also taken into account.

In connection with the above, criminal sanctions will be imposed on the entrepreneur for failure to submit a VAT declaration in the form of a fine for committing a prohibited act. In 2017, the amount of the fine ranges from PLN 200 to PLN 40,000.

Penal sanctions for failure to submit a VAT declaration - a criminal fiscal offense

The situation may take a completely different turn when the declaration is not submitted at all and the case is revealed during the tax inspection. Then the tax authority has the right to rule that the taxpayer has not disclosed the tax base, and therefore has committed a criminal fiscal offense. This will happen if the value of the depleted tax exceeds PLN 10,000. Up to this amount, it will still be an offense.

In the event of a crime, the case must be brought to court, and the entrepreneur goes to the National Criminal Register. In this case, the legislator provided for 3 types of punishment:

  • imprisonment,
  • restriction of freedom,
  • penalty.

In 2017, the last of them ranges from PLN 666.60 to PLN 19,198,080.

It is always worth remembering about submitting a VAT declaration - this is the best way to avoid criminal sanctions for failure to submit a VAT declaration. However, if the entrepreneur experiences a moment of forgetfulness, then he can always use the application for voluntary submission to liability, which is guaranteed by the lack of an entry in the criminal record. Another solution that will bring the expected results, but only if the untimely submission of the declaration does not come to light, is the submission of information about your negligence, i.e. "active grief".