We were deceived, destroyed, suppressed by the state – this is how the businessman sums up his story. Tomasz Radloff says he feels like a bandit. All because of a seemingly trivial thing. He paid the tax but did not provide a copy of one document. After three years, it turned out that he owed almost a million zlotys.
– They blocked our accounts. We cannot make any transfers, we cannot pay for ZUS, we cannot pay withdrawals, we cannot do anything at all – says Tomasz Radloff, co-owner of the “Ardsel Meble” company. All because of the debt due to the tax that entrepreneurs paid. – VAT was settled in full in 2020. The state budget has not been reduced at all, not even by one zloty – emphasizes Elżbieta Remiesz, owner of the inTRem customs agency, which serves the “Ardsel Meble” company. In 2020, the company’s owners settled VAT for the import of goods every quarter, in accordance with the regulations. For the first three quarters, and the case concerns this period, they paid the tax office on time in total over half a million zlotys.
– The decision of the customs and tax office was also very surprising for us – admits Bartosz Błaut, co-owner of the accounting office. This concerns the decision of the head of the Podlasie Customs and Tax Office in Białystok to repay the already transferred VAT for 32 imports, because the entrepreneurs did not complete one formality – it seems to be easy to correct – in force at that time. They submitted a declaration to the tax office, paid the tax due, but did not provide a paper copy of the declaration to the customs and tax office. Appeals did not help. Now the company has to pay not only the VAT already paid, but also the daily increasing interest and enforcement costs. Her debt is therefore approaching one million zlotys.
The case after many years
The entrepreneurs found out that something was wrong after three years. – There was not a single information that any obligation had not been fulfilled for so long – says Bartosz Błaut. – It was 2020, 2021, 2022 passed, 2023 began and suddenly someone noticed that they could earn interest here – says Magdalena Jurgielewicz, customs agent at inTRem.
Even if the company had money to pay one million zlotys, after correcting the declaration the money would come back to it, but not all of it – we hear. – Only the main amount, i.e. the amount paid for the second time, will be returned, and the interest and enforcement will, of course, go to the State Treasury – explains Sławomir Lesiak. – This is exactly how I feel, like a bandit, a thief, and as if I were actually doing some kind of scam, some kind of VAT scam, because that’s what it looks like from the outside – admits Tomasz Radloff.
Everyone who sees the case from the inside knows that there is no chance of paying a million zlotys. Due to the accrued debt, three people have lost their jobs there, and the company is at risk of closure. The agency that submitted declarations to the customs office on its behalf is also in serious trouble. – The worst-case scenario is the closure of the company and, in fact, loss of assets – adds Elżbieta Remiesz. Under the so-called joint and several liability, the customs agency is liable for its client’s debt in its full amount. Debt for tax paid on time.
– The customs office in Białystok knew very well that we had paid, because they also had access to it. Access to electronic documents has been available since 2017 – assures Tomasz Radloff. This is why the National Tax Administration was created. – All you had to do was enter your Tax Identification Number and you could verify all the data – notes Elżbieta Remiesz. The head of the Podlasie Customs and Tax Office in Białystok does not want to talk about the matter, citing fiscal secrecy. – Sometimes I think about just leaving here and starting a business in another country, because it’s not possible here – admits Tomasz Radloff. On October 25, the Provincial Administrative Court in Białystok will hear the case.
Main photo source: Fakty po Południu TVN24