Tax Cobra successful

Thanks to VAT ledger statements the number of tax inspections has dropped.

František Imrecze, director of the Financial Administration František Imrecze, director of the Financial Administration (Source: TASR)

The Tax Cobra enforcement unit has revealed tax frauds amounting to altogether €657 million during the four years of its existence. Moreover, thanks to VAT ledger statements the number of tax inspections has dropped.

“VAT fraud was kind of a national sport in Slovakia,” said head of the Financial Administration František Imrecze, as quoted by the TASR newswire. 

Fraudsters often claimed high amounts via excessive VAT refunds. The activities of the Tax Cobra unit have contributed to changing this reality, Imrecze added.

The unit was established in summer 2012. Of the €657 million in fraud it has revealed, more than €70 million concerned claims for excessive VAT refunds. This means €584,000 per day.

Moreover, Tax Cobra has carried out 1,813 tax inspections of 5,444 taxing periods and checked 718 companies, Imrecze continued.

The number of tax inspections dropped from 607 in 2014 to 278 in 2015, mostly thanks to the ledger statement introduced in January 2014. It made the inspections more personalised and specific. 

“This means we do not check companies that do not deserve it,” Imrecze said, as quoted by TASR.

Also the effectiveness of tax inspections improved, rising from 70 percent in 2012 to nearly 95 percent in 2016. This is also the result of better cooperation with the police and the General Prosecutor’s Office, he added.

Tax Cobra has launched investigations in 78 cases during the past four years, of which 20 ended with the proposal to submit a lawsuit. Altogether 271 persons have been accused, TASR wrote.

Moreover, the criminal authorities managed to dissolve three criminal groups and 15 organised groups which were active in Slovakia and also abroad.

Meanwhile, also the forms and types of frauds have changed. While in 2012 excessive VAT refunds were dominant, two years later fraudsters rather asked for lower amounts but through many refund claims. After introducing the ledger statements, fraudsters tried to reduce their own tax duties. This year excessive VAT refunds at low sums but in high number are being used again, Imrecze said, as reported by TASR.

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