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Protection of tax dollars and ethical tax behaviour are needed to ensure stable, predictable revenues, particularly during periods of budget consolidation. Efficient and effective anti-fraud efforts increase tax fairness and eliminate distortions to competition.
The Anti-Fraud Division of the Austrian Ministry of Finance is the central office for strategic anti-fraud activities in the area of taxes and duties. The Anti-Fraud Division's main responsibilities as a coordinator and point of contact include the strategic orientation of areas of activity for anti-fraud units and legal enforcement in the area of taxes and duties. The Anti-Fraud Division also acts as a coordinator and point of contact for the following areas, among others:
- Tax and duty fraud
- Money laundering in connection with tax fraud as a predicate offence
- Cash controls
- Ensuring fairness for honest taxpayers
- Protecting fair businesses
- Ensuring fair competition
- Enhancing Austria's attractiveness as a location for businesses
- Safeguarding tax revenues
- Protecting the financial interests of the Republic of Austria and the European Union
- Global involvement - strengthening multilateral and bilateral cooperation
- Safety and protection of the population
The prevention, detection and prosecution of organised tax and customs fraud in all its forms requires a proactive anti-fraud approach. A variety of methods are used to combat cross-border value-added tax fraud, customs fraud, money laundering and the circumvention of prohibitions and restrictions on cross-border trade:
- Use of a state-of-the-art risk management system to improve prevention
- Amendment of laws to take into account new offences
- Use of state-of-the-art technology (e.g. Internet monitoring) and proven tools (e.g. tax fraud simulations, preparation of offender profiles) to quickly identify risk areas
- Concentration of all available resources in the high-risk area
- Ensuring uniform risk-based audit and control activities
A variety of field audit measures combined with internal control activities help to ensure that appropriate resources are used to address each risk. Competition rules for the free movement of goods are enforced and control responsibilities are performed for the protection of people, animals, plants and the environment.
Cooperation in the area of information exchange between the Anti-Fraud Division and competent authorities in other EU member states and third countries and with international bodies and national authorities, cross-border audits and participation in international operations and conferences contribute greatly to the detection and combating of fraud scenarios.
The following pages provide more detailed information on the anti-fraud responsibilities of the tax and customs authorities, many legal bases in national and EU law, and links to anti-fraud cooperation partners.