Criminal tax law has always been a possible continuation of tax litigation after the tax authorities have assessed the tax liability. Recently, however, this trend has been changing. Increasingly, law enforcement agencies are getting to cases before the tax administrator. This is mainly due to the work of the Financial Analysis Unit and the work of commercial banks in anti-money laundering (AML).

Either way, suspected tax evasion can trigger a protracted criminal process where the mere conduct of the case is a huge strain on clients’ nerves. Many of them confide in us that going to bed and getting up every day at the thought that they may end up in jail in some time is killing them. Particularly when criminal proceedings quite commonly last for years. Even relatively straightforward cases take between two and five years, which is an incredibly long period of uncertainty. Let alone complex cases stretching over 10 years or more.

Unfortunately, the tax cut is a kind of ash that no one really cares about. It is, more than any other area, very multidisciplinary. It requires, of course, knowledge of substantive and procedural criminal law, but also knowledge of economic law and, in particular, knowledge of tax law. The latter is proving crucial to understanding the very nature of this crime. And it is knowledge of tax law that gives us a huge competitive advantage in this. This is also evidenced by our publishing activity, when the Criminal Tax Law Handbook received a very complimentary review from the President of the Supreme Court.

Our work at the outset consists mainly of efforts to rule out the initiation of criminal proceedings altogether. We do this by translating the tax authorities’ conclusions into understandable language for the law enforcement authorities. This is done with an emphasis on proving that the tax assessment was unlawful, or that any potential misconduct was not the result of the client’s deliberate actions, but rather a misunderstanding of the tax matter or a failure to carry the burden of proof.

Of course, not all cases can be defended in this way at the outset. In such cases, we then try to achieve this goal throughout the criminal proceedings. However, our experience has shown that if a case is not stopped at the outset, it usually ends up in the criminal court. The latter is the last to decide whether or not the tax evasion has been committed.

It can thus be summarized that knowledge of the tax law context is essential for an effective and efficient defense. Everything is already at stake in criminal proceedings and should not be underestimated. There is a decent chance of stopping the case at the outset. If it fails, then the chances of avoiding a trial are very slim. Clients are therefore advised to contact us as soon as possible. Preferably already at the stage of the tax proceedings. In our experience, effective defense in tax proceedings proves to be the most effective. It usually happens to us that an administrative court throws an imaginary pitchfork into a criminal proceeding that is underway and completely destroys the conclusions of the tax proceedings on the basis of our action. At that point, the prosecuting authorities find themselves in a very uncomfortable situation, which usually ends with a quick dismissal or acquittal.


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