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Over one million litres of fuel confiscated in an operation called Hrabal Tisková zpráva

 Joint action of the Czech Tax and Customs Administration with a code name „Hrabal” culminated on 18th and 19th January 2012. The result of this action was confiscation of approximately 1,4 million litres of fuel transported by a train from Belarus. This action was one of a series focused on detecting and fighting against VAT evasions in fuel trade.

Fuel was confiscated on the basis of security order that the taxpayer did not respond to. Issuing of the security order was an implication of a justified concern of the Tax Office that taxpayer (a legal entity with its seat in Prague), who imported this fuel to the Czech Republic, will not fulfil his tax obligation. The concerns resulted – among others - from the fact that the taxpayer purposely changed his seat and statutory bodies for several times during a very short time period. After being assessed as a high-risky, all taxpayer’s business activities were monitored by tax and customs administration’s employees.

2 600 tons heavy and 550 meters long freight train with fuel had been under the constant supervision of Customs Administration since it had been dispatched from Belarus. When the train reached its destination, the Czech Tax Administration joined the supervisory activities. During following eight days needed to complete all customs duties, employees of Tax and Customs Administration monitored the train at the station. They discovered that the transaction participants had changed import documents during the transportation in order to make tax proceedings more difficult. Right after releasing the freight to the tax territory of the Czech Republic, the Tax Office notified the taxpayer, that the imported fuel would be confiscated.

The freight was then transported by an external carrier to a contractual warehouse of the General Financial Directorate. If the taxpayer does not fulfil payment obligation additionally, the fuel will be sold in a public auction and the profit will be used to cover the taxpayer’s arrears. The estimated starting price of the auctioned fuel shall be based on an expert opinion and will be approximately CZK 17 million.

This taxpayer had already previously transported two trains of fuel to the Czech Republic. It is supposed that the sum gained from the sale of the confiscated fuel will provide compensation of tax debts also for these two previous trains.