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STIR Usage Grows: Blocked Funds Up 14%, Entities Up 17%

LAWSTIR Usage Grows: Blocked Funds Up 14%, Entities Up 17%
  • Treasury Department continues to use STIR. Year-on-year, there is an over 14% increase in blocked funds.
  • Last year, almost 90 million PLN were blocked in companies’ bank accounts.

According to data from the Ministry of Finance, the number of bank accounts blocked using STIR increased by 4.4% in 2023 compared to 2022. At the same time, the number of qualified entities subject to blocks increased by more than 17%. Most recently, the total amount of blocked funds increased year on year by over 14%, to 88.5 million PLN. Meanwhile, the total value of estimated tax shortfalls was nearly 288 million PLN, almost 4 million less than in 2022. According to experts, the frequent use of this tool cannot be ruled out this year, as the IRS is still strongly determined to track down any irregularities.

Minor increases

According to data provided by the Ministry of Finance, the number of bank accounts blocked using STIR in 2023 was 1188 (620 by Head of the National Revenue Administration, 568 by the National Revenue Information System). This is a 4.4% increase from 2022 when there were 1138 such cases (607 by Head of KAS, 531 by NUCS). Last year, 312 qualified entities were subject to STIR blocks (156 by Head of KAS, 156 by NUCS). This is a 17.3% increase from 2022 when there were 266 (141 by Head of KAS, 125 by NUCS).

As noted by Aldona Międlar-Adamska, a lawyer from Ars AEQUI, the identification of irregularities does not automatically mean that actions are criminal. It often comes down to unintended mistakes, arbitrary interpretation of regulations by tax authorities, or a lack of funds to pay liabilities. According to the expert, comparing the ministry’s data with the total number of taxpayers, the use of STIR blocks is not a frequent phenomenon. The increases are not alarming and do not indicate a widespread misuse of highly repressive institutions.

Blocked funds and tax shortfalls

Last year, the total amount of blocked funds was 88.5 million PLN (57.5 million by Head of KAS, 31 million by NUCS). Aldona Międlar-Adamska insists that these are not high amounts, considering the overall level of tax collection. Annual budget revenues from VAT alone exceed 250 billion PLN, which remains the main field for tax abuse. According to the expert, it can be said that STIR only affects a small part of the turnover subject to this tax.

Outlook for 2024

Dr. Jolanta Gałuszka does not expect a warming of relations between taxpayers and the tax authority in 2024. According to the expert, a more likely scenario is an increase in the number of controls, and thus more frequent ordering of bank account blocks.

Alicja Sarna emphasizes the steady increase in both the number of entities and the amounts subject to blocking. This indicates an intensification of tax authorities’ actions in combating tax irregularities. It is essential to closely monitor the situation and analyze the context of these blocks for a more accurate assessment of their effectiveness.

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