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Financial criminal proceedings

Financial criminal proceedings in Austria regulate the punishment of offences against tax and duty regulations. Financial criminal law is essentially regulated by the Financial Penal Act (FinStrG).

Financial criminal proceedings

Here are some important points to know about it:

1. Types of financial offences

  • Evasion of duties (e.g., reducing duties or interfering with tax collection).
  • Fraudulent credit (e.g. when someone obtains a tax credit under false pretences).
  • Fraud on fees and contributions.
  • Tax evasion (e.g. if someone benefits from evaded taxes).
  • Other offences such as not submitting tax returns or keeping double books.

2. Competent authorities

  • The fiscal penal authorities (first instance) are usually the tax offices.
  • In the second instance, the Federal Fiscal Court has jurisdiction.
  • In the case of more serious offences or in certain cases, the ordinary courts may also have jurisdiction.

3. Penalties

The penalties can be fines or custodial sentences. The fine can be based on a fixed amount or a percentage of the tax evaded.

4. Statute of limitations

Financial offences may be time-barred. The limitation period generally begins at the end of the year in which the offence was committed. The duration of the limitation period varies depending on the severity of the offence.

5. Voluntary disclosure

A special feature of Austrian criminal financial law is the possibility of voluntary disclosure. Under certain conditions, a voluntary disclosure can lead to an exemption from punishment. In this case, the offender must disclose the tax evasion and pay the tax owed.

6. Appeals

Appeals can be lodged against decisions of the fiscal criminal authorities. The appeal procedure is then based on the procedure before the Federal Fiscal Court.

The fiscal penal procedure in Austria is a process for penalizing violations of tax regulations.

Here is a summarized overview of the procedure and the most important aspects:

  1. Notifications and communications: Public authorities, the Austrian Health Insurance Fund and the Labour Market Service are obliged to pass on information relevant to tax law to competent financial criminal authorities.
  2. (Preliminary) enquiries: Financial criminal offence authorities check reports and notifications for relevant grounds for suspicion and, if necessary, contact the persons concerned.
  3. Summons: The persons concerned must respond to a summons. Failure to respond can lead to unpleasant consequences.
  4. Defence: Affected parties can bring a defence lawyer to the summons hearing.
  5. Initiation of proceedings: If there are concrete grounds for suspicion, the financial criminal proceedings are formally initiated.
  6. Simplified procedure: If the case facts are clear, criminal proceedings can be concluded without an oral hearing.
  7. Appeal: Affected parties can appeal against a penal order. This overrides the simplified procedure.
  8. Oral hearing: Takes place if no simplified procedure is possible or an objection has been lodged.
  9. Discontinuation of proceedings: This takes place if the allegations cannot be proven or if there are other justifiable reasons.
  10. Appeals: Appeals against decisions in financial criminal proceedings can be lodged with the Federal Fiscal Court.

If you are summoned or asked to make a statement in the course of criminal financial proceedings, it is advisable to take the matter seriously and seek legal support if necessary. If you have specific concerns or problems, you should always contact a specialized lawyer or tax advisor.