#17: White lies or swindle?

Various classic criminal offences are getting more common in the area of fraud cases. Examples are charges of forgery or money laundering in a case which is in principle a tax fraud case. The wide coverage of those penal provisions make them a beloved weapon for the authorities to prosecute alleged fraud. If tax or another kind of financial fraud cannot be proven, these kind of provisions are a good back-up. In practice they are some sort of safety net. The new kid in town seems to be the charge of swindle. Jurisprudence shows that article 326 of the Dutch Penal Code is getting more and more popular. But when does an act qualify as swindle? The Supreme Court of the Netherlands has set some records straight by the end of last year by giving an overview judgement .READ MORE

#13: Taxes and the upcoming elections

Tax evasion and tax fraud are two different things even though the media tries to make you believe otherwise. Tax fraud is deliberately not filing a complete tax return due to which the public treasury is harmed. Classic tax fraud usually is committed in a non-transparent way, so the authorities have a hard time to discover it. Tax evasion however is no more than avoiding to have to pay (certain) taxes. Even though the difference between the two is quite clear, the two get generalized because tax evasion has become an unpopular phenomenon. The Dutch authorities in their ‘fight against fraud’ make grateful use of this situation, especially with the upcoming elections in March 2017.

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#07: Accessory penalties and measures

The Dutch sanctions system distinguishes between penalties and measures. Penalties are mainly aimed at punishment and general deterrence. Measures, on the other hand, aim for the improvement of the security and safety of persons or property. Another element is the restoration of the situation as it was before the criminal conduct occurred. Practice shows that besides the possibility to punish someone who is convicted of a crime with imprisonment, community service or a (severe) fine, the possibility of imposing accessory penalties and measures is becoming more common. Therefore an overview of such penalties and measures as stated in the Dutch national law might be helpful.READ MORE

#06: The Dutch hunt for professional facilitators

In the Netherlands not only the (alleged) offender of a crime can be prosecuted. The professional who advised on certain matters relating to the object of a criminal investigation can become a suspect as well. The notary who advised on a legal document which is possibly false can be prosecuted. The tax advisor who advised his client on how to evade taxes can be complicit to tax fraud. Any professional that is involved with alleged criminal offences of his client can thus be faced with a criminal investigation on his involvement. The legal ‘weapons’ of Dutch law enforcement have increased over the last years and the so called ‘facilitators’ of financial fraud are the targets of these weapons. In the fall of 2015 the prosecutor’s office announced in the media that they will open their ‘fight against fraud’ by aiming to punish accountants and notaries who assist mala fide entrepreneurs. In this hunt for professional facilitators, suspects may not only be faced with administrative penalties or criminal prosecution, but also with disciplinary complaints. Which legal ‘weapons’ does Dutch law provide for?READ MORE

#04: The pressure is On

The general opinion nowadays in de media is that tax evasion and tax friendly structures are one and the same as tax fraud. It is the common opinion that it is morally reprehensible. The recent publications about the Panama Papers are a confirmation for those who are of this opinion. However, the publications do not show whether the involved persons and entities actually hid their wealth or whether they were not transparent about it towards the tax authorities or even had to be. Nonetheless their names are mentioned in the newspapers and all over the internet. Without knowing the complete facts about the actual tax behavior of these persons this is naming and shaming in its purest form. For governments and tax authorities who are in ‘the fight against tax fraud’ the deterrent effect of naming and shaming seems to be a welcome tool to further break down – the usage of – the banking secrecy. In the past years the European banking secrecy has been attacked on various occasions. We will go in to the recent developments of the strive of the Dutch tax authorities against ‘hidden’ foreign bank accounts of Dutch tax payers in for instance Switzerland.READ MORE