Bank accounts under scrutiny of tax administration
January 1st, 2018 is the day on which the so-called “STIR Act” comes into effect. The new regulation is to counteract tax fraud and money laundering. Polish lawmakers prepared a series of amendments that allow will allow them to create a new system for exchanging and analysing financial information between financial institutions and using the data to detect suspicious transactions and dishonest taxpayers.
STIR, or System Teleinformatyczny Izby Rozliczeniowej [Clearance Chamber ICT System], is a tool that will collect financial data from banks and carry out analyses of operations in order to determine whether account holders perform certain types of actions that may indicate they may be using their bank accounts for illegal activity. Banks are now obliged to present National Fiscal Administration with information on account holders and their activity.
The Head of National Fiscal Administration will be given some new powers. They will be able to freeze bank accounts for the period from 72 hours to 90 days. Suspicious bank activity will also constitute grounds for losing one’s VAT number without prior notice. Another new thing will be a register of entities whose VAT registration for some reason got cancelled or who reapplied for VAT number. The register will be publicly available.
The changes are expected to bring 2.5 billion PLN within 12 months. The new solutions against fiscal crime are regarded as the most important amendments for 2018 from the point of view of the state budget. STIR will be used to target VAT-related offences, such as carousel frauds, known also as missing trader schemes, or issuing empty invoices, i.e. such that do not reflect actual business operations. From 2018, operations of National Fiscal Administration are to be more effective.
The act on STIR was passed by the Polish Parliament last November. President Andrzej Duda signed the bill on the 28th of December.