In Ukraine, a scheme for the import of branded clothing was exposed under the guise of helping the poor
In Ukraine, a scheme for the import of branded clothing was exposed under the guise of helping the poor

Law enforcement agencies of Ukraine exposed and stopped the work of an underground scheme for evading taxes and customs payments when importing expensive clothing into the country. This was reported June 16 on the Facebook page of the press service of the Kiev City Prosecutor’s Office.

At the moment, the pre-trial investigation is ongoing.

It is noted that this fraud took place through the import of commercial goods, in particular, branded clothing under the guise of humanitarian aid to low-income families. To this end, the organizers registered several fictitious donor companies and several charitable organizations to which this aid was allegedly delivered.

Moreover, the fraudsters themselves opened the cars sealed by customs officers, unloaded branded items and medicines from them, and then reported worn clothes so that the weight corresponded to the accompanying documents. After that, they re-packed the cargo with fake customs seals. The prosecutor’s office in Kiev noted that due to illegal machinations, the state did not receive monthly customs payments for tens of millions of hryvnias.

The report emphasizes that law enforcement officers simultaneously conducted nine searches in the territory of the Rivne region in office and warehouse premises, as well as in the places of residence of production employees. As a result, more than ten tons of goods were seized from the fraudsters.

In June 2020, a scheme invented by Russian students for stealing clothes from stores was disclosed. It turned out that the gang members returned to the store the things that allegedly did not fit them with the help of a check, which had previously been lured away from real customers in various ways. They were caught in February 2019 by a security guard who declassified their fraud.

Better cooperation between national authorities on taxation of digital trading
Better cooperation between national authorities on taxation of digital trading
  • Tax authorities should share information more quickly
  • Sanctions should be introduced for platforms and need to be harmonised
  • Non-EU platforms must register in an EU member state where they have substantial economic activity

On Wednesday, MEPs recommended changes to draft legislation aiming to trace and tax the sales that people make through online platforms more effectively.

The legislation, spearheaded through the EP by Sven Giegold (Greens, DE), aims to oblige digital platforms to report the income earned by those selling goods and services on their platforms. Tax authorities would also be obliged share this information with each other.  It was adopted by 568 votes in favour, 63 votes against, and 64 abstentions.

Platforms need to register in the EU and can face sanctions

Non-EU platforms should be required to register and report their activities in the single market in a single member state, and must have substantial economic activities in the chosen member state. Moreover, MEPs opted to provide for harmonised sanctions against platforms that do not fulfil their reporting obligations.

Quicker exchange of requested information

A tax authority receiving a request for information should provide it no later than three months, rather than six months, from the date it receives the request. By the end of 2022, the Commission should submit a report assessing country-by-country how well the system works, including how effective the information exchanges are.

Scope of the automatic and compulsory exchange of information

A tax authority should automatically communicate to the authority of another member state not only the information that is available but also that which could reasonably be made available.

As from 1 January 2022, no new bilateral or multilateral advance pricing arrangements should be agreed by member states with third countries that do not permit their disclosure to the tax authorities of the other member states.

Quote of the rapporteur, Sven Giegold (Greens, DE)

“Extending the directive to cover digital platforms will close one loophole, but others remain wide open. Exchange of information will only be effective once all types of income and assets are consistently included under this directive. Unfortunately, the Council has already decided its position without waiting for the European Parliament’s proposals and has decided to postpone implementing improvements by one year to January 2023. It is irresponsible to forego urgently needed tax revenues in this time of crisis. The EU Commission must take its responsibility in a time of public deficit seriously and propose a strong review of the directive.”