RIA FAN: «The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation: There are fewer tax crimes, but they bring more damage»

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation announced a 15 per cent reduction in the number of reported tax crimes received in H1 2018 compared to the same period of the previous year. At the same time the damage from dishonest taxpayers' actions was counted at 49 billion rubles.

As the press-service of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation told the Federal News Agency, the investigative authorities have received 3,000 reports of tax crimes within six months. Whereas in H1 2017 there were 15 per cent more of them. Such a decrease corresponds to changes in the work of the Federal Tax Service according to the department.  «Today there is a course to reduce the number of field tax inspection with the widespread use of a risk-based approach, when meticulous analytical work precedes the selection of the auditee to determine the most risky zone. Therefore, the investigative authorities are getting less and less materials of tax audits every year,» – said the head of the Department of the procedural control over the investigation of tax crimes Sergei Trokhov.

It turns out that businessmen are less likely to be checked, but more thoroughly. In H1 2018, 1,700 criminal cases were initiated for non-payment of taxes. In absolute terms, this is 6 per cent less than in the same period last year. But at the same time last year, criminal cases were initiated only in half of the cases and now it has increased to 55 per cent. More cases were sent to the court with an indictment - 510 in just six months.

 «In this regard, it is worth remembering the first years of work of the Investigative Committee for the investigation of tax crimes. In 2012, the proportion of launched criminal cases was only 14 per cent, that is, only for every seventh material a criminal case was opened. Today it is altogether different story,» – said Sergey Trokhov.

The Investigative Committee is confident that such an increase in efficiency in the fight against tax crimes is the result of joint work of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Federal Tax Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs. In all regions of the country, there are interdepartmental groups that deal with the fight against criminal tax offenses and special investigative units involve in investigating tax crimes in the 12 largest economic territorial entities of the Russian Federation.

 «The Investigation Committee with the Tax Service developed general procedures for collecting the evidence base of the taxpayer’s intention for tax evasion, – said Sergey Trokhov. – In addition, initiation and investigation means for criminal cases before the completion of tax control measures have been built, which allows criminally-remedial means to block the withdrawal of property from the recovery of tax arrears.»

Thanks to these means, defaulters have almost no chance of withdrawing money and deferred taxes are returned to the budget. The Investigation Committee told that in this way they managed to force the largest transport and logistics company in Russia to pay 1.5 billion rubles of taxes and fines. The criminal case against the managers of Delovye Linii LLC was initiated in 2016 even before the registration of the results of field tax inspection. Businessmen were suspected of tax evasion. The investigation requested the arrest of the company's accounts and was supported by the court. As a result, businessmen reimbursed the damage.

There may be fears that a decrease in the detected number of tax crimes will also lead to a reduction in the amount of damage that violators must pay. The Investigation Committee argues that such fears are groundless, the trend is quite opposite – the amounts are growing. So, in H1 2018, 49 billion rubles of damage was detected. And almost the half of it – 24 billion rubles – was already reimbursed during the pre-investigation probe and investigation of the criminal case. If we compare these amounts with the result of last year, the detected damage increased by 11 billion.

 «These data indicate that today the vector of work has changed: inspections of enterprises are carried out not by random sampling, but against those who have a high risk of using illegal tax avoidance schemes. The big players began to get in a spotlight.

This was largely the consequence of amendments to criminal law introduced in 2016, when the unpaid tax thresholds were raised, from which criminal liability arises. This also largely explains the increase in established and reimbursed damage during the investigation», – explained the head of the Department of Procedural Control Over Tax Crimes Investigation.

Investigators have long known the most common tax evasion scheme, shell companies. Such a company is included in the economic turnover of the enterprise but provides no real service, which is why any interactions with it is of no tax consequences. Much like illegal banking, this scheme becomes the focus of attention of the Investigative Committee of Russia while not in its exclusive jurisdiction. The Committee states that the task to counter tax crimes is integrated, and they watch out not only for actual tax evasions, but also for those criminal intentions that contributed to tax evasion.

For instance, in February 2018 a criminal case was sent to court in Zabaykalsky Territory against offenders who had been engaged in illegal banking activities for four years. An organized group of individuals transferred and gave out money to entrepreneurs on fictitious grounds, thus helping them not to pay taxes to the budget. They had 12 shell companies at their disposal, through which cashed about half a billion of rubles in 2012-2016. Their «banking fee» amounted to 22 million rubles, and 68 million rubles were hidden from the tax authorities.

 «The managers of the three organizations that used the services of that illegal bank were charged with tax evasion, and the organizers of illegal banking activities were also charged with conspiracy. At the moment, court examines the criminal case into them, as well as into members of the organized criminal group engaged in illegal banking activities,» – commented the press service of the Investigative Committee. No less attention is paid to the problem associated with the appeals of tax authorities' decisions in arbitration courts by dishonest taxpayers. Cunning businessmen falsify financial statements and try to convince the court of unjustified additional taxes. Sometimes they succeed.

 «Primary accounting documents are official, they confirm certain facts of economic life, giving rise to rights and obligations in the business sphere.

Providing and using them in court with false information constitutes a crime under Article 303 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (falsification of results of investigation and search operations),» – warns Sergey Trokhov.

In the Republic of Karelia, such a falsifier was convicted. A convicted of tax evasion individual businessman submitted false documents to the court, but the investigation successfully caught him in this crime. As a result, the court sentenced him to one year of corrective labour with the retention of 15 per cent of his salary to the state.

Author: Kristina Masenkova