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Results in the combat against the shadow economy by Customs – impact of economic crime prevention doubled in 2017

21.3.2018 8.00
Press release


The impact on society achieved through the combat against the shadow economy by Customs amounted to about 61 million euros. The impact of economic crime prevention exceeded 54 million euros in 2017. Global economic crime pertaining to electronic trade and the traffic of internal trade added to the challenges faced by economic crime investigators.

The societal impact of the combat against the shadow economy by Customs amounted to about 61 million euros in 2017, an amount six million euros lower than in 2016. The decrease in the amount in 2017 was, among other factors, due to the fact that car taxation and most excise taxation tasks were transferred from Customs to the Tax Administration in early 2017. Customs still carries out controls of tax warehouses relating to excise duties on behalf of the Tax Administration.

The societal impact of economic crime prevention by Customs amounted to 54.59 million euros in 2017. The amount in 2016 was 29 million euros lower. Most of the increase in the impact is due to the increase in damages caused by offences investigated by Customs. The estimated damages recorded in cases investigated by Customs Economic Crime Investigation amounted to 46.83 million euros in 2017. In 2016, the corresponding figure was 13.7 million euros. Recovered proceeds of crime amounted to 4.2 million euros, whereas the amount in 2016 was 5.97 million euros. The amount of recovered proceeds of crime and their share of registered damages caused by criminal offences vary significantly each year depending on the nature of criminal cases.

In 2017, Customs conducted 264 corporate audits in which the proposed taxation measures amounted 10.8 million euros. In 2016, Customs carried out 442 audits where the proposed taxation measures amounted to 60.7 million euros. The decrease in the number of audits and proposed measures in comparison with 2016 was due to changes in the levying and auditing responsibilities within car taxation and excise taxation. Due to the changes, the amount of taxes levied by Customs also dropped significantly in comparison with previous years. In 2017, altogether six corporate audits aimed at shadow economy targets were based on criminal offences or resulted in a criminal investigation. The corresponding number of audits in 2016 was 25.

In 2012–2017, the societal impact of the shadow economy prevention by Customs amounted to about 398 million euros, of which the share of subsequent taxation and the societal impact of economic crime prevention was 380 million euros.

Duration of investigations into aggravated tax frauds reduced by half

In 2017, Customs investigated 1 086 tax frauds, which was 172 cases more than in 2016. Customs uncovered 83 aggravated tax frauds. The number of tax frauds uncovered and investigated by Customs has increased by more than 105 % between 2012 and 2017. Over the five-year period of comparison, 51–109 aggravated tax frauds, 99–226 tax frauds

and 324–822 petty tax frauds have occurred annually. The numbers of criminal offences in all categories of severity have risen.

In 2017, investigations took an average of 265 days, that is, they lengthened somewhat from the 240 days in 2016. It took 223 days to investigate aggravated tax frauds in 2017, whereas in 2016 it took 403 days.

Increasingly global economic crime

International economic crime pertaining to electronic trade and to internal trade traffic are among the new phenomena in the current decade that add to the challenges faced by economic crime investigators at Customs. The Internet is also used to an increasing extent in marketing and selling highly taxed products to consumers while evading the tax regulations concerning the products.

Customs cooperates with the Tax Administration and foreign law enforcement authorities in combating the increasing fraud crime that involves value added taxation within Union trade.

Efficient and well-targeted combat by Customs against the shadow economy

Customs continued its efficient actions against the shadow economy in cooperation with other authorities in 2017. In line with its strategy for 2016–2020, Finnish Customs will combat the shadow economy, and will protect society by ensuring product safety and preventing serious cross-border crime.

A national strategy and an action plan for 2016–2020 has been drawn up for the prevention of the shadow economy and economic crime. Customs has also set up a programme against the shadow economy encompassing 23 projects for the years 2016–2020.

The results achieved during 2012–2017 show that the economic crime prevention efforts by Customs have been efficient and well-targeted.



Press Release