Providing information to the bailiff by the accounting office

Accounting Offices

Relations between the bailiff and the accounting office are not always the warmest. The source of this are the increasingly common requests for explanations from accounting offices regarding their clients. What information can we provide to the bailiff? What does the GDPR Act say? What information about the client can the bailiff request? What is the provision of information to the bailiff by the accounting office?

Providing information to the bailiff

The reason why bailiffs have the opportunity to submit claims for information by an accounting office can be found in the Civil Code, and more precisely in article 761 of this code. According to it, the bailiff may request information from economic entities such as accounting offices, if this information is important in determining the composition of the property and income of the person against whom bailiff proceedings have started.

In recent years, bailiffs have made many inquiries to entities that may have knowledge about the debtor's assets and income. Of course, the best source of such knowledge is a bank, which, incidentally, rarely protects such information with bank secrecy. When the bank gave an insufficient answer, bailiffs usually direct their steps towards accounting offices. What information can bailiffs request?

First of all, data on whether the attached movable or immovable property is actually the property of the debtor. However, in theory, the bailiff cannot call the office to provide information about the employer's address or the amount of remuneration. Why in theory? Due to the fact that bailiffs often require such data anyway.

A bailiff's request for sensitive data - what to watch out for?

In accordance with the law, the accounting office should provide all information, the request of which is justified by the direct interest of bailiffs carried out in accordance with the law. Therefore, the provision of information to the bailiff by the accounting office is in the form of written explanations in the form of statements, which in no case is unlawful.

Amid heated discussions about the transfer of data to a bailiff, many experts believe that professional secrecy only protects tax advisers who, according to the resolution of the tax advisers' union, do not have to disclose any information. Of course, it is also possible to obtain any information from them, provided that the court revokes the professional secrecy.

Additional obligations to the bailiff and remuneration

It is common that as part of an application for specific data, the bailiff demands the preparation of statements. And very good news for accountants and accounting offices is the fact that they are entitled to remuneration for the preparation of such documents, in accordance with the regulation on the maximum amount of remuneration for providing information to a court bailiff. A page of unprocessed text in this case is 10 zlotys, unless it is about processed information, the content of which is valued at 20 zlotys per page. The maximum amount of remuneration that can be charged to the bailiff is PLN 40 per page that contains tables, diagrams and other elements necessary to provide all relevant information about the debtor.

However, it is worth at the very beginning to determine with the bailiff the amount of such a fee and the scope and volume of information and statements that will be prepared for him, along with the exact date and method of providing the necessary data.

Provision of information by the accounting office and the GDPR

Is the well-known act on the processing of personal data a sufficient reason to refuse the bailiff to provide any data related to the finances of the indebted person, who is also our client? It would seem that the GDPR effectively protects against such situations, but it is not necessarily a fact.

In accordance with the understanding of the Act and the interpretation of lawyers, a person or institution may not refuse to provide information, relying on the Act on the Protection of Personal Data, if this data is crucial for further enforcement proceedings. Bailiff duties, legally defined as being carried out in the public interest and as part of the exercise of official authority vested in the controller, constitute a clear exemption from the obligation to protect personal data.

When can an accounting office hide behind the provisions of the GDPR? In practice, only when these data are redundant, taking into account the subject matter of the enforcement proceedings. On the other hand, the GDPR only protects natural persons. So, if the bailiff requests information on the economic entity, the accounting office is obliged to provide it.

Disclosure of a secret and loss of a client - is it possible to protect against such a situation?

Is there any way for the accounting office not to disclose any business-related information to third parties? In the contract between the client and the accounting office, from time to time we can find a provision according to which the office undertakes to maintain full secrecy with certain exceptions.

The main exclusion is the state control bodies to which the bailiff belongs, which are entitled to obtain such information. In such a situation, however, the accounting office also makes a bow to the client and informs him about the need to provide certain data to the bailiff.

What if accounting offices included information about unconditional keeping the client's secret in their contract? Unfortunately, such a provision of the contract is invalid due to the fact that the law always surpasses the office contract with the client. So, when faced with a request for information to a bailiff, the accounting office is still required to provide the necessary data.