Polish justice minister wants heavy punishment for VAT fraud
Fraudsters obtaining VAT reimbursement under false pretences could face prison terms of up to 25 years if the fraud exceeds PLN 5 million, Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said on Monday.
Under a draft being drawn up at the Justice Ministry, fraudsters who return unlawfully obtained reimbursements and inform on their associates could count on getting a reduced sentence.
'We are not talking about cheating on your taxes; we are talking about stealing money under the pretence of VAT accounting. These are often perpetrators operating in international groups ... who present documents based on which they draw money from the state budget under pretence of having already paid VAT that they never actually paid - Justice Minister Ziobro said on Polish Radio One on Monday.
'If we are to believe the Supreme Audit Office (NIK), these are amounts reaching PLN 50 billion' - he added.
Pointing out that today such crimes carried a fine of "a dozen or a few tens of thousands of zlotys for multi-million-zloty fraud", Ziobro said that the changes envisaged by the ministry aimed to discourage people from VAT fraud and to encourage fraudsters, once caught, to cooperate with the judiciary and return any unlawfully obtained money.