Tax penalties in Poland – voluntary disclosure letter

Voluntary disclosure letter is a voluntary notification of a misdemeanor or fiscal crime. If a taxpayer does not fulfill their tax or customs obligations on time, they are exposed to a penalty.

According to the Polish Fiscal Penal Code:

Art. 16. § 1. The perpetrator who, after committing the prohibited act, notified the authority appointed to prosecute, disclosing the relevant circumstances of the act, in particular the persons cooperating in its commission, shall not be subject to punishment for a fiscal offense or a fiscal offence.

On the basis of that law provision it is possible to avoid fines/penalties in different situations if the notification (voluntary disclosure letter/letter of regret) is sent to the tax office.

It does not give any specific additional time to fulfill the tax obligations. There is no law provision stating in what time after submission of letter of regret the late reporting shall/can be sent. In practice the delayed submission shall be made asap.

Also, there is no specific deadline for submitting the notification (voluntary disclosure letter) however, it will not be effective if it is submitted at a time when the law enforcement authority has already clearly documented information about the commission of a crime or fiscal offense, or after the law enforcement authority has commenced official tax activities.

Situations in which voluntary disclosure letter can be used:

  • taxpayer did not submit tax return on time
  • taxpayer kept accounting books unreliably
  • taxpayer issued invoices unreliably
  • taxpayer has not paid or paid the incorrect income tax (PIT or CIT) or VAT
  • taxpayer illegally applied reduced VAT rates
  • taxpayer used VAT exemption illegally
  • taxpayer concealed the true size of business activity from the tax authority
  • taxpayer extorted a customs duty refund
  • taxpayer extorted a customs permit

Taxpayer will learn whether the head of the tax office or the head of the customs and tax office has positively considered the voluntary disclosure letter from the actions taken by the law enforcement authority.

The law enforcement authority may:

  • consider the voluntary disclosure letter as effective – the head of the tax office or the head of the customs and tax office will not inform about it in a separate letter. In such a case, the head of the tax office or the head of the customs and tax office will waive from imposing a penalty for failure to fulfill tax or customs obligations. In certain situations, the authority may provide new deadlines within which taxpayers  will be obliged to fulfill obligations that they have not fulfilled,
  • consider the voluntary disclosure as ineffective – in such a case, proceedings will be conducted in the case of a fiscal offense or a fiscal offense, in accordance with the principles set out in the Fiscal Penal Code.

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