New Tax Authorities - What Has Changed?
In 2010, numerous changes were made to the Act on fiscal control. The most important of them concern the scope of access to information by fiscal control authorities, the rules of using coercive measures and the process of controlling and auditing funds from the European Union. Thanks to the amendments to the act, the tax intelligence gained more powers than the police. Tax crime fighting agents have been given new powers. What are the new powers of the tax office? They can eavesdrop, check e-mail, and check all bank accounts, even people who don't run a business. All you need is a suspicion of corruption and tax fraud.
Objective scope of the act
The 2010 amendments to the Act on fiscal control mainly exclude from the scope of fiscal control issues related to the trade in goods with foreign countries and the turnover of goods imported from abroad to the extent to which they duplicate the tasks performed by the customs authorities and the Customs Service. The amendment is to eliminate the risk of multiple control activities being undertaken by different authorities in relation to the same trading activities. In addition, the legislator introduced an amendment to the act, according to which fiscal control also covers the identification, detection, prevention and combating of crimes and offenses related to the ownership of intellectual rights. Therefore, fiscal control will take care not only of tangible assets or tax settlements. It will also focus on intellectual property, especially if it generates taxable income.
No more illegal trading on the Internet
Revolutionary changes will affect people trading online. All thanks to art. 7c-7e, which were added to the Act in question. The entities mentioned therein, such as auction and service portals, are forced to disclose to the tax inspection the data required for identification, including archival ones.
New tax authorities' rights - unlimited access to information about the taxpayer
First of all, it is about financial institutions. In the event that the fiscal control authority has substantiated information about the use of a bank account by a taxpayer who conducts economic activity not reported to the register, it will be able to request disclosure of his data. In such a situation, banks must disclose and submit to the tax inspection data that identify the bank account holder, that is:
- bank accounts held, their number and the turnover and balances on the accounts,
- held securities accounts,
- concluded credit and loan agreements. The bank will provide the amount of loans and credits and the purpose for which they were issued, as well as the forms of their security (including safe deposit boxes),
- purchased shares and bonds of the State Treasury.
The fiscal control will also obtain information from publishers and editors of magazines and newspapers, broadcasters of radio and television programs, as well as from service providers providing services by electronic means, e.g. Internet providers. It is enough for the inspector to have information about the advertisements and advertisements of a given trader. Also government and self-government administration bodies, as well as courts, are obliged to provide information related to the controlled person or business unit free of charge.
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It is also important that fiscal control authorities can collect, use and process personal data of the controlled without his / her knowledge. The above-mentioned entities will therefore provide the inspectors with data about the company and the address of the entrepreneur or the names, surnames and addresses of natural persons without notifying the interested parties themselves. Moreover, tax intelligence inspectors have the right to wiretap all taxpayers and control their e-mails without additional permits. All you need is a suspicion of corruption and tax fraud. As a result, the degree of public surveillance by the tax authority has become comparable to the powers of the ABW and CBŚ agents.
Contractors on the censored
Amendments to the act also provide for the application of the so-called cross-checks. The inspector or employee of the fiscal control may ask the contractor of the controlled entity in order to obtain information about the taxpayer from him. The latter will be required to provide the inspector with documents related to the inspected party. Cross-checking is to verify the correctness and reliability of the taxpayer's documents. When speaking of contractors, the legislator means suppliers and recipients, both direct and indirect, as well as entities involved in the delivery of the same goods or service, if they are related to the controlled taxpayer.
Control and audit of EU funds
The process of controlling and auditing funds from the European Union has been simplified and made more flexible. The catalog of persons performing audit activities has been extended to include inspectors and employees of fiscal control offices who will perform them on the basis of an authorization issued by the General Inspector of Fiscal Control or by an authorized director of the fiscal control office.
New powers of the tax office - means of direct coercion
Tax inspectors already had gas throwers, incapacitating nets, road studs and handcuffs at their disposal. The new powers of the tax office are wider - now truncheons and pistols for rubber ammunition have also been added to the official equipment. They can also use physical force against those who hinder their work. During the control, however, it is not allowed to use direct coercion measures against pregnant women, disabled or elderly people and people whose appearance indicates the age of under 13.
But without interest
A tribute to taxpayers is to not charge late payment interest when the decision on the necessity to pay is delivered to them after six months from the date of initiation of the fiscal control. Interest will not be charged from the date of initiation of fiscal control until the date of delivery of the decision. However, this provision will not apply if the taxpayer's failure to deliver the decision within the said period is the fault of the taxpayer. The provision on the non-charging of late payment interest is intended to protect taxpayers from delayed actions by fiscal control officials. Let us add that in the event of commencement of enforcement proceedings, the head of the tax office must define the so-called period of interest suspension. If he fails to do so, the taxpayer has the right to appeal.
Undoubtedly, the acts amending the act on fiscal control brought a number of sometimes controversial changes. The most important seem to be those that indicate the new rights of the tax office and the rights of operational employees of the tax intelligence. These changes, however, are justified by the need to counteract the growing economic and fiscal crime. Practice has shown that the fiscal control authorities in their current shape are not prepared to counteract pathological phenomena in economic turnover and to prosecute their perpetrators; the effectiveness of these bodies was in gross disproportion to the degree of risk of this type of crime.