Threshold amount for tax evasion changed

On 21 May 2019, the National Assembly of the Republic of the Serbia adopted Bill amending and modifying the Criminal Code (“the Law”), published in the Official Gazette No. 40/2019 dated 21 May, 2019, effective on the 1 December 2019.

Amendments to the Law were made regarding the chapter twenty-two, concerning offences against economic interests.  Made amendments concern the Article 225 – Tax Evasion. The amount of obligation which payment is avoided from five hundred thousand dinars is increased to one million dinars. The legislator also increased the sentence for committing this criminal offence, so the punishment of imprisonment from six months to five years to a year to five years of imprisonment. If the amount of obligation which payment is avoided exceeds five million dinars, the offender shall be punished by imprisonment of two to eight years. The third form of this criminal offence has been also changed, so the threshold for the obligation which payment is avoided is increased from seven and a half million dinars to fifteen million dinars, while the punishment by imprisonment of three to ten years stayed the same. Based on this changes as criminal offense will be prosecuted tax evasion with a minimum of one million dinars. Tax evasion amounting less than million dinars will not be prosecuted as criminal offense but as tax misdemeanors. In addition, the amendments to the Law added a new criminal offense in the chapter thirty, concerning criminal offences against judiciary, attack on a lawyer. Thus, anyone who attacks a lawyer or a member of his family in connection with the lawyer’s service will be punished. For the elementary form of this criminal offence punishment by imprisonment from three months to three years is prescribed. For the qualified form of this criminal offence maximum punishment by imprisonment prescribed is eight years.

As the legislator stated changes to the criminal offence of tax evasion was made in order to increase the penalties. But at the same time the legislator increased a minimum amount of obligation for which payment is avoided in order for tax evasion to be prosecuted as criminal offence. This changes will come into force on 1 December 2019.