Archive for February, 2010

Tax board: asset fraud becoming more common

The tax board says that more and more companies with financial difficulties are using the asset fraud where they “pay off debt” by selling their assets to another company that actually has the same owners. Since it is hard to prove, most businessmen using such schemes escape punishment and successfully move assets out of the reach of creditors.

Since usually the only creditor who recovers its money in such cases is the bank, it means that the latter must be aware or involved in such schemes. After the company is depleted of assets, it declares itself bankrupt or adopts a new name and continues in business while the claims of other creditors, including the tax and customs board (MTA), remain unsatisfied.

The popularity of using such asset fraud is growing, claims Tanel Ermel, head of the department of special operations of MTA.

Tax and Customs Board discovered tax frauds in nearly half of audited companies

In June 4 the Tax and Customs Board held an audit among nearly 300 small shops and cafes all over Estonia, the Tax and Customs Board announced.

More than 170 tax administrators controlled companies where the analysis pointed to possible tax fraud. Tax administrators observed businesses and investigated whether employees are reported in tax declarations, also if and how general accounting has been organized.

Preliminary analysis pointed that about half of the companies were hiding turnover or paying salaries under the table. Audit found employees who are not reported in tax declarations or their declared salary is notably smaller from actual salary.

Some employees grabbed their things and ran away after tax administrator had introduced himself/herself.

The board decided to conduct an audit since analysis showed that tax risks are notably higher in areas where settling is largely in cash.

In 2008 Tax and Customs Board got 264 hints of paying under the table. This year the number is 514.