Would you like to make an appointment with one of our lawyers? For advice or orientation? We are happy to receive you at our offices in The Hague or Rotterdam or we will come to you.
Tax law is a complicated field. Differences of opinion with the Tax Department on the accuracy of the tax return are the rule rather than the exception. When the Tax Department is of the opinion that a tax return was ‘intentionally’ filed incorrectly or that insufficient taxes were paid, the fiscal conflict can result in a criminal case. The Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (‘FIOD’) will carry out the criminal investigation.
In criminal tax cases, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the FIOD and the Examining Magistrate have far-reaching and substantial investigatory powers, allowing entry and search of residences, offices and companies, seizing or demanding inspection of documents and wiretapping phone and e-mail communication.
The case may end up before a criminal court. Although, depending on the circumstances, an out-of-court settlement may be possible, the trend is to get the perpetrators of tax crimes before the Court and punish them severely. Not only will pecuniary penalties be imposed, but also custodial sentences, even for people who have never been in trouble with the law before.
Our lawyers –some of whom also have a fiscal degree– have successfully defended numerous clients in criminal tax cases (including Customs cases). We often work closely together with the client’s tax consultants.
A visit by the FIOD is always unexpected and inconvenient. The FIOD however comes prepared. Never underestimate the seriousness of the situation.
Stay calm, consult a lawyer as soon as possible, and do not make any statements whatsoever until you have discussed matters with your lawyer. Do not consent to seizure of any object or document.
In almost all tax crimes, there will also be a suspicion of forgery. The maximum sentence for this offence is relatively high.