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New anti-tax evasion measures have come into force. The list of fiscal practices that are considered crimes has been expanded28 May 2024

New anti-tax evasion measures have come into force. The list of fiscal practices that are considered crimes has been expanded

In a global economic context marked by the intensification of efforts to combat tax evasion, Law no. 126/2024, recently published in the Official Gazette, introduces new measures aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Romanian tax authorities to react to such practices by companies. Already applicable from June 16, the new law brings substantial changes to the regime of penalties for tax evasion, new types of acts being criminalized, while for some already existing offenses the penalties have been tightened.

The new law criminalizes new types of acts that were circumscribed to tax evasion. Thus, the simple non-withholding of taxes and contributions that have a withholding regime can be considered a crime, which represents a rather big change in approach considering that until now only the withholding or collection of amounts and their non-transfer to the state were criminalized. Practically, through the new act introduced, companies can end up in the situation of incurring criminal penalties for situations in which, out of ignorance or carelessness, they did not withhold taxes at source to which they were obliged to apply this tax regime. In the context where these acts are punishable by imprisonment from one to 5 years or a criminal fine, the rigorous fiscal management of taxes and withholding taxes becomes an imperative for companies.

Also, the law expands the scope of tax evasion, including here the facts related to electronic documents, the national RO e-Invoice system and cash registers. For example, using e-Invoice in bad faith in order to create the appearance of legality of fictitious operations or to disguise the real transactional circuit of goods/services can be considered a crime, as is the case of using cash registers not connected to the systems ANAF or the intervention on the devices for not transmitting tax data or transmitting unreal tax data. Such acts will be punishable by three to ten years in prison. In addition, if such acts generate a damage greater than one million euros, the penalties are increased by 5 years.

Also, in the category of new facts considered tax evasion, starting from May 16, are also crediting operations of a company by natural persons, if their purpose is “to make payments with sums of money that come from the omission of highlighting in the accounting documents of commercial operations performed and/or of the realized income of one or more taxpayers”. The prison sentence provided for such crimes is also between three and ten years.

Also, from May 16, the Evasion Law specifically punishes large fraudulent VAT schemes. Thus, acts such as the use of false documents, the intentional non-disclosure of VAT information or the presentation of false declarations to mask the non-payment of VAT can be punished from this moment on with imprisonment from 7 to 15 years and the prohibition of the exercise of certain rights, if they are committed within fraud schemes that reduce the state budget by at least one million euros. The attempt to commit these crimes is also punishable.

Law no. 126/2024 also introduces a mechanism that allows an exemption from punishment for tax evasion where the damage does not exceed this ceiling of one million euros. More specifically, in the case of crimes detected during a tax audit, taxpayers will be able to escape penalties if, within 30 days from the end of the audit, they pay the damage in full plus 15% of its value, to which interest and penalties are added. In this case, the competent bodies will not notify the criminal investigation bodies.

Last but not least, the normative act also clarifies that, in the case of all crimes under the Tax Evasion Law, the limitation period for criminal liability begins to run from the date of notification to the fiscal or criminal body, but no later than 10 years from the date of the commission of the acts.


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Alina Andrei

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