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Selling and filing false documents for deductions will be criminalized

Selling and filing false documents for deductions will be criminalized

To combat illegal receipt of VAT deductions to the State Duma introduced bill, establishing criminal liability for the sale and submission of knowingly false invoices and tax returns. According to the tax authorities, now the volume of illegally issued deductions is estimated at 1 trillion rubles. per year - while the current laws do not allow law enforcement officers to identify the organizers of the venues, selling fictitious documents. Lawyers agree on the need to criminalize such acts, but they warn, that in the presented version, the draft law also poses a threat to honest business.

A group of deputies from the United Russia and LDPR factions submitted to the State Duma a draft law on the introduction of a new article into the Criminal Code - 173.3 Sales and (or) submission to the tax authorities of knowingly false invoices and tax returns". Amendments to the Criminal Code proposed in order to combat the scheme of illegal tax optimization - with the so-called paper VAT. It is a fictitious purchase of goods and services., due to which the input VAT increases on paper. To do this, the statutory documents of companies are acquired., registered as nominees, fraudulent invoices and tax returns are made on their behalf. The organizers of this activity, as stated in the explanatory note to the project, take 2-3% of the amount of fictitiously confirmed tax deductions for this. It is also indicated there, that, according to the FTS, in 2021 year, in this way, deductions were illegally issued for approximately 1 trillion rubles.

According to the project, false invoices and declarations will be recognized, executed with the use of nominees or with illegal use of personal data, as well as knowingly containing false information (for example, about the shipment of goods).

For the sale or provision of such documents to the tax authorities, if it caused large damage to citizens and organizations or led to the receipt of income on a large scale (from 2,25 mln rub.), at best, a fine 100 thousands. to 300 thousands. of rubles, at worst - up to four years in prison with a fine in the amount of six months' income. If the crime was committed by an organized group or resulted in a particularly large income (from 9 mln rub.) - then up to seven years with a fine in the amount of five years of income.

The need for change is due to, that the absence of a special rule does not allow carrying out operational-search measures to identify activities for the manufacture and sale of false invoices - “until the moment, until the real taxpayer takes advantage of the fictitious deductions”. However, even then, authors of the project explain, it is difficult to document the connection between the organizers of the fictitious document flow and the taxpayer, since the sale of documents is carried out through a chain of intermediaries.

Government and Supreme Court, as follows from their conclusions on the project, in general, it was supported - subject to revision.

Vadim Zaripov, head of the analytical service at the law firm Pepeliaev Group, emphasizes, that the proposed article is not directed at taxpayers, who want to avoid taxes (for them, Art.. 199 CC, on which the sanctions are softer), but on those, who creates fictitious invoices. "It's a criminal business, mostly former “cashiers”, which can be called highly profitable, technological and almost risk-free",says the expert. Taxology partner Alexey Artyukh adds, that tax and law enforcement agencies are reluctant to search for the organizers of such "platforms", only then, when it is no longer possible to ignore the scale of their activities, which is also due to the lack of a rule on liability. Ekaterina Avdeeva, head of the expert center for criminal law policy at Delovaya Rossiya, notes, that the project can provide guarantees for conscientious entrepreneurs: the number of business calls coming to the call center, related to the illegal use of their data in the preparation of forged documents, increased.

According to the partner of the tax practice of the company MEF LEGAL Alexander Erasov, in the spring, a similar project was already submitted to the State Duma. At that time, he did not receive a positive government opinion and was rejected by the business community due to concerns about unreasonable pressure on business.. New wording, says the lawyer, partly reduce these risks., however, concerns remain, that their application may be formal and accusatory. I agree with this and Vadim Zaripov: the bill is needed, but it needs to be improved - in particular, it is necessary to exclude from the article the actions for the provision of tax returns, because it poses a threat to those, who even unintentionally filed such unreliable documents. Also attribution to false invoices, which contain deliberately false information about the shipment of goods (instead of their absence), allows you to understand anything by this wording - erroneous documents can lead to criminal prosecution of a wide range of people.

 

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