VAT fraud?


  • Dupa

    @Dreikin said in WTF Bites:

    @kt_ said in WTF Bites:

    Brace yourself, this is a good one.

    So I've got this laptop with a dead battery. It's old, but it's still capable of playing 1080p, so I keep it for that. Sometimes, though, I have this urge to take it a few feet farther and well… I can't. So I decided to buy a new battery for it.

    I know fuck all about batteries so I chose the one online store that sells a battery branded for this particular laptop model. Also, I've bought from them before. Because I don't like the VAT, I decided to buy it and get the invoice issued to my father's company. And here's where it started to get funny.

    1. There was no way to input address for the company, they just filled the delivery address as the company address. Had to email them to change it.
    2. When it finally got here, I wasn't home, so the postman brought it back to the post office. I went there and they told me… they wouldn't give the package to me. Because it's addressed to the company, with no name there. This means that only people that are on the board or people with authorization signed by someone from the board, can retrieve it.
    3. If I were there when the postman came, she'd give it to me, no questions asked.

    On Monday I'm gonna call them and be very unpleasant to them. Mostly because it's not the first time they screwed up.

    You see, this is the second battery replacement I ordered from them. The first time they managed to mail it to the address on the invoice, instead of the delivery address. Fortunately it was only a few blocks away, so I was able to retrieve it quite easily.

    The next time, though, they sent me an email saying that they sent the 1500 PLN worth of stuff to me. They even included the tracking number for the package.

    The issue there was:

    1. I didn't order anything. It was my father's company that did.
    2. And the address was wrong, because it was from my first order from them and don't live there anymore.

    Which means, someone from the company somehow got from their system my delivery address from the first order when the company I just wanted to be on the invoice made an order with them. And they sent the stuff to me, but not me, a stranger really, because I don't live there anymore. And knowing how delivery companies work around here, they'd probably leave the stuff with the wrong people anyway!

    Luckily for them, the courier company allowed them to change the delivery address, because it was only a few blocks away.

    Fuck, I made two orders with them and they managed to screw up 3 times. Losers.

    Today, after realizing what happened, I wanted to yell at them real hard. I went to the website, saw they had a line open 8 AM - 8 PM (it was 5.30), called them. All I got was "we're open 8 - 4, Monday thru Friday".

    They can't even get their own opening times right!

    So basically you tried to commit VAT fraud and got a lot of trouble for your efforts?

    This response got me thinking. Don't you do that in the US too, when you have a company, buying certain type of stuff invoiced for the company to get the VAT deduction and increase costs? @Polygeekery, you might have some info on that?



  • VAT? In the US?


  • Dupa

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    VAT? In the US?

    Sure. I know it varies by state, but it's there.

    But if it seems wrong to you, forget the VAT part, think "increasing costs" to have to pay less "tax" instead.


  • Dupa

    Forgot to add: and most importantly, is this frowned upon, I mean socially? Around here it's completely normal and no one cares one way or another.


  • Notification Spam Recipient

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    VAT? In the US?

    They're in the old military base. Just ask for the Lieutenant at the door and he'll show you.



  • @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    VAT? In the US?

    Sure. I know it varies by state, but it's there.

    This article only mentions VAT once and it's in this context:

    Unlike value added tax,


  • Dupa

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    VAT? In the US?

    Sure. I know it varies by state, but it's there.

    This article only mentions VAT once and it's in this context:

    Unlike value added tax,

    I must be thinking:

    Gonna ask Google, what the difference is.


  • Dupa

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    VAT? In the US?

    Sure. I know it varies by state, but it's there.

    This article only mentions VAT once and it's in this context:

    Unlike value added tax,

    I must be thinking:

    Gonna ask Google, what the difference is.

    Based on this, the only difference is sales tax means that only the consumer pays it and VAT is paid for every transaction, no matter if the buyer is a costumer.

    Hence, the question in the OP still stands.



  • @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    VAT? In the US?

    Sure. I know it varies by state, but it's there.

    This article only mentions VAT once and it's in this context:

    Unlike value added tax,

    I must be thinking:

    Gonna ask Google, what the difference is.

    You can't commit sales tax fraud by buying something as a different entity because sales tax is a percentage of the price of the transaction. There is such a thing as a "business expense", though.



  • @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    no matter if the buyer is a costumer

    Sales tax doesn't count for theatrical clothiers???


  • Dupa

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    no matter if the buyer is a costumer

    Sales tax doesn't count for theatrical clothiers???

    Sure thing. If the buyer has a VAT ID.



  • @kt_ To my knowledge, only charitable organizations and churches are exempt from sales tax in the US and that may vary from state to state. Other than that, you pay full sales tax.

    Do note that some types of items (such as food) may not be taxed. Again, this varies from state to state.


  • Dupa

    @powerlord said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ To my knowledge, only charitable organizations and churches are exempt from sales tax in the US and that may vary from state to state. Other than that, you pay full sales tax.

    Do note that some types of items (such as food) may not be taxed. Again, this varies from state to state.

    Gotcha. In Poland if a company is the buyer, it gets the VAT back. Seriously, they get it back. They first have to pay the full price, the seller pays the VAT for the product to the treasury and then at the end of the month or quarter (depending on some factors) the payer is given back that VAT amount, or rather they are given back the difference between how much VAT they paid to the treasury for stuff bought from them and how much VAT they paid to other companies.



  • @kt_ I think this is what you're looking for (click link to get correct section).



  • @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    VAT? In the US?

    It's more likely than you think!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Based on this, the only difference is sales tax means that only the consumer pays it and VAT is paid for every transaction, no matter if the buyer is a costumer.

    Yes, but non-consumers can get repaid for the VAT they pay on business expenses. The aim is that the tax added is effectively on the “value added” by the business, hence the name. It makes it a tax that's relatively cheap to collect (since businesses are quite keen to register as that lets them get money back) but also makes it something of a magnet for fraudsters.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Gotcha. In Poland if a company is the buyer, it gets the VAT back. Seriously, they get it back.

    In Germany, you often don't have to pay it in the first place, depending on the supplier you buy from.

    The only way to catch such VAT fraud is to check the inventory of the company. Not sure how often that happens…


  • Dupa

    @asdf said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Gotcha. In Poland if a company is the buyer, it gets the VAT back. Seriously, they get it back.

    In Germany, you often don't have to pay it in the first place, depending on the supplier you buy from.

    The only way to catch such VAT fraud is to check the inventory of the company. Not sure how often that happens…

    Another problem with this is, you can always claim the thing broke or got lost. At least that's how they do it around here.

    My question from the OP was rather what is the usual or general reaction to actions as I described there. As I said, here in Poland it's BAU, a completely natural thing to do, no social stigmatization there.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @asdf said in VAT fraud?:

    The only way to catch such VAT fraud is to check the inventory of the company. Not sure how often that happens…

    How often are companies audited? That's supposed to pick this sort of thing up. Also, if the taxmen think that there's something odd going on, they'll have an extra fine look. (I'd guess that most larger companies would be fairly honest about this; it's smaller firms that are more likely to do this sort of thing. Larger companies have other, more technically legal ways of doing shenanigans.)


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    As I said, here in Poland it's BAU, a completely natural thing to do, no social stigmatization there.

    It's not too uncommon here in Germany, either.



  • @powerlord said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ To my knowledge, only charitable organizations and churches are exempt from sales tax in the US and that may vary from state to state. Other than that, you pay full sales tax.

    I think some other not-for-profit organizations are also exempt. It's come up when I've bought stuff for a university student group.


  • Dupa

    @dkf said in VAT fraud?:

    @asdf said in VAT fraud?:

    The only way to catch such VAT fraud is to check the inventory of the company. Not sure how often that happens…

    How often are companies audited? That's supposed to pick this sort of thing up. Also, if the taxmen think that there's something odd going on, they'll have an extra fine look. (I'd guess that most larger companies would be fairly honest about this; it's smaller firms that are more likely to do this sort of thing. Larger companies have other, more technically legal ways of doing shenanigans.)

    From what I heard, here in Poland audit means they will look till they find something. To the point, that sometimes companies make sure they find a small thing quicker to make the auditors get the hell out.



  • @dkf said in VAT fraud?:

    makes it something of a magnet for fraudsters

    Indeed. Carousel fraud was a big thing a while back.



  • @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    @ben_lubar said in VAT fraud?:

    VAT? In the US?

    Sure. I know it varies by state, but it's there.

    This article only mentions VAT once and it's in this context:

    Unlike value added tax,

    I must be thinking:

    Gonna ask Google, what the difference is.

    Wow, sales taxes here are like 30%


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    @Dreikin said in WTF Bites:

    @kt_ said in WTF Bites:

    Brace yourself, this is a good one.

    So I've got this laptop with a dead battery. It's old, but it's still capable of playing 1080p, so I keep it for that. Sometimes, though, I have this urge to take it a few feet farther and well… I can't. So I decided to buy a new battery for it.

    I know fuck all about batteries so I chose the one online store that sells a battery branded for this particular laptop model. Also, I've bought from them before. Because I don't like the VAT, I decided to buy it and get the invoice issued to my father's company. And here's where it started to get funny.

    1. There was no way to input address for the company, they just filled the delivery address as the company address. Had to email them to change it.
    2. When it finally got here, I wasn't home, so the postman brought it back to the post office. I went there and they told me… they wouldn't give the package to me. Because it's addressed to the company, with no name there. This means that only people that are on the board or people with authorization signed by someone from the board, can retrieve it.
    3. If I were there when the postman came, she'd give it to me, no questions asked.

    On Monday I'm gonna call them and be very unpleasant to them. Mostly because it's not the first time they screwed up.

    You see, this is the second battery replacement I ordered from them. The first time they managed to mail it to the address on the invoice, instead of the delivery address. Fortunately it was only a few blocks away, so I was able to retrieve it quite easily.

    The next time, though, they sent me an email saying that they sent the 1500 PLN worth of stuff to me. They even included the tracking number for the package.

    The issue there was:

    1. I didn't order anything. It was my father's company that did.
    2. And the address was wrong, because it was from my first order from them and don't live there anymore.

    Which means, someone from the company somehow got from their system my delivery address from the first order when the company I just wanted to be on the invoice made an order with them. And they sent the stuff to me, but not me, a stranger really, because I don't live there anymore. And knowing how delivery companies work around here, they'd probably leave the stuff with the wrong people anyway!

    Luckily for them, the courier company allowed them to change the delivery address, because it was only a few blocks away.

    Fuck, I made two orders with them and they managed to screw up 3 times. Losers.

    Today, after realizing what happened, I wanted to yell at them real hard. I went to the website, saw they had a line open 8 AM - 8 PM (it was 5.30), called them. All I got was "we're open 8 - 4, Monday thru Friday".

    They can't even get their own opening times right!

    So basically you tried to commit VAT fraud and got a lot of trouble for your efforts?

    This response got me thinking. Don't you do that in the US too, when you have a company, buying certain type of stuff invoiced for the company to get the VAT deduction and increase costs? @Polygeekery, you might have some info on that?

    One of the equivalent-ish things here is not paying sales tax. Many states require you to pay sales tax on things you buy, even if it's over the internet from a different state/country. Of course, this relies almost entirely on people making sure to pay that tax themselves, and many aren't even aware they need to. Even those that are aware aren't likely to do it unprompted. Businesses may be different on compliance.

    My impression of public opinion on that is that it shouldn't be the case. Probably because it's less of a burden on everyone, and a lot of people don't think the state should be able to tax transactions that happen somewhere else.



  • @dreikin Right. There are Use Taxes and even if there aren't in a particular state, you're supposed to declare and pay sales tax on your state tax returns for (some) items purchased outside the state but brought into the state.

    Very few people actually do, and direct enforcement on individuals is lax-to-non-existent. It's something that if they're already auditing you and gonna ding you for something else, they tack on as an extra charge.



  • @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Don't you do that in the US too, when you have a company, buying certain type of stuff invoiced for the company to get the VAT deduction and increase costs?

    No US States have VAT. Only sales tax. Sales tax is calculated at the point of sale only, not when "value is added".



  • @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Sure. I know it varies by state, but it's there.

    Where? Gonna need a cite on this one.

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    But if it seems wrong to you, forget the VAT part, think "increasing costs" to have to pay less "tax" instead.

    That doesn't make sense in the US tax system. It's gibberish.



  • @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Gotcha. In Poland if a company is the buyer, it gets the VAT back. Seriously, they get it back. They first have to pay the full price, the seller pays the VAT for the product to the treasury and then at the end of the month or quarter (depending on some factors) the payer is given back that VAT amount, or rather they are given back the difference between how much VAT they paid to the treasury for stuff bought from them and how much VAT they paid to other companies.

    Sounds like your system is stupid and easily-gamed.



  • @wharrgarbl said in VAT fraud?:

    Wow, sales taxes here are like 30%

    If you consider the total tax burden, the US is on-par with other countries at the same level of development.

    Sales tax, property tax, gas/transportation taxes, all go to the State. Some States also have income tax. The Feds take their cut out of their income tax.

    Sales taxes are often discouraged because they're not very progressive. (A guy with a billion dollars spends more than a guy with a thousand dollars, but not a million times more.)

    Anyway, the point is: you're looking at like 1/4th the tax burden and saying "wow taxes are low", but you're only seeing the tip of the ice berg.


  • Fake News

    @blakeyrat That's not entirely true. Some states don't have sales tax. Some don't have property tax. Some don't have income tax. Some localities (counties or cities) have income or sales tax on top of the state tax; such a tax could be higher at, say, a restaurant than at a grocery store.

    Property tax bills actually come from counties, generally. Here, for example, our property tax bill comes from and is collected by the county where we live. On it are line items for the local public schools; roads (county or city maintained); and other things at the county or local level. By the way, if you're delinquent enough on your property taxes, county sheriff's deputies will seize your property, auction it off, then bill you for the remaining unpaid tax. It gives you an idea of just who actually owns your property...



  • @lolwhat said in VAT fraud?:

    That's not entirely true. Some states don't have sales tax. Some don't have property tax. Some don't have income tax. Some localities (counties or cities) have income or sales tax on top of the state tax; such a tax could be higher at, say, a restaurant than at a grocery store.

    What you typed here is true. And what I typed is also true. Nothing you said conflicts with anything I said.

    But better call me a liar, just in case!


  • Fake News

    @blakeyrat

    Sales tax, property tax, gas/transportation taxes, all go to the State.

    I had said that property tax is generally assessed by counties and local governments, not by states. But sure, the rest is 110% correct.



  • @lolwhat as a matter of pure :pendant: , counties and such are a creation of the state and are wholly subservient to the state. Not all states have counties--Louisiana has parishes and Alaska has boroughs. Those are equivalent though. In some states, property tax is at the state level (or are equalized between divisions). Sometimes, sales and excise taxes vary between municipalities and counties--I lived in a town where gas was ~$0.10 more than across the border since the city had a gas tax.

    Taxes in the USA are stupidly complicated.



  • @kt_ oh, and using a sales-tax-exempt organization's info to buy stuff for personal use is a good way to get the org's status revoked (at least). States and localities take that very seriously, so it doesn't happen on a widespread basis.



  • @blakeyrat said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Gotcha. In Poland if a company is the buyer, it gets the VAT back. Seriously, they get it back. They first have to pay the full price, the seller pays the VAT for the product to the treasury and then at the end of the month or quarter (depending on some factors) the payer is given back that VAT amount, or rather they are given back the difference between how much VAT they paid to the treasury for stuff bought from them and how much VAT they paid to other companies.

    Sounds like your system is stupid and easily-gamed.

    It seems like it's actually more difficult to game by the taxpayer (if only because you can't not pay the tax). The party that can game the system is the treasury - and in fact according to some media here it does exactly that right now, delaying the VAT returns for as long as they can and doing some creative accounting around them.

    That's our fiscal deficit per month in 2016. See that spike in December? That's when the state actually paid pretty much all the VAT back after hogging it for a year, pretending our economy is crazy good for 11 months and quietly rebalancing things in December when everyone's eyes were already on 2017's budget.



  • @maciejasjmj ah the joys of creative accounting when there's no direct accountability. California did that too, only paying vendors at the last possible second or paying with IOUs.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @benjamin-hall
    I guess they learned from all the large manufacturing companies who do the same to their suppliers to make their liquidity look better.



  • @lolwhat said in VAT fraud?:

    Property tax bills actually come from counties, generally.

    How true is that? I've only lived in two states, but in both of them, property taxes went to the city/town. To be honest, I don't actually know who pays for the sheriffs' offices, since I haven't seen any county-level taxes in either of the states.



  • @dragnslcr this varies strongly between States as I understand it. The general rule about taxes in the US is that they exist. Anything beyond that has almost as many exceptions as it does normal cases.


  • Dupa

    @blakeyrat said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Sure. I know it varies by state, but it's there.

    Where? Gonna need a cite on this one.

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    But if it seems wrong to you, forget the VAT part, think "increasing costs" to have to pay less "tax" instead.

    That doesn't make sense in the US tax system. It's gibberish.

    Don't you pay tax based on your income - costs? So if you write the computer you bought for yourself as a business cost, you pay less tax (income - costs = lower than without the PC).


  • Dupa

    @blakeyrat said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Gotcha. In Poland if a company is the buyer, it gets the VAT back. Seriously, they get it back. They first have to pay the full price, the seller pays the VAT for the product to the treasury and then at the end of the month or quarter (depending on some factors) the payer is given back that VAT amount, or rather they are given back the difference between how much VAT they paid to the treasury for stuff bought from them and how much VAT they paid to other companies.

    Sounds like your system is stupid and easily-gamed.

    Depends on what you mean by gamed.


  • Dupa

    @benjamin-hall said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ oh, and using a sales-tax-exempt organization's info to buy stuff for personal use is a good way to get the org's status revoked (at least). States and localities take that very seriously, so it doesn't happen on a widespread basis.

    Seriously? Like, how are they gonna check that this PC you bought for yourself and wrote off as a business expense was in reality a personal one?



  • @kt_ businesses are allowed to deduct certain expenses from their tax bills. The rules are seriously complex. Generally, things have to be legitimate business expenses and the IRS (tax people) scrutinize these heavily. Trying any of the simple tricks gets you a forensic audit (motto: bend over and prepare to get violated).


  • Dupa

    @maciejasjmj said in VAT fraud?:

    @blakeyrat said in VAT fraud?:

    @kt_ said in VAT fraud?:

    Gotcha. In Poland if a company is the buyer, it gets the VAT back. Seriously, they get it back. They first have to pay the full price, the seller pays the VAT for the product to the treasury and then at the end of the month or quarter (depending on some factors) the payer is given back that VAT amount, or rather they are given back the difference between how much VAT they paid to the treasury for stuff bought from them and how much VAT they paid to other companies.

    Sounds like your system is stupid and easily-gamed.

    It seems like it's actually more difficult to game by the taxpayer (if only because you can't not pay the tax). The party that can game the system is the treasury - and in fact according to some media here it does exactly that right now, delaying the VAT returns for as long as they can and doing some creative accounting around them.

    Fuck your politics in my fraud thread.



  • Property tax anywhere in the US is ultimately an optional tax. Property tax can only be assessed on commercial property, not private property, and the commercial classifications for real property are agricultural, industrial, and residential. (All land in the USA is allodial, which means it is absolutely owned by real individual people; it cannot be owned by legal-fictional "persons", like corporations, governments, or even banks.) US law forbids direct (on existing owned property) taxes, so indirect taxes (on transactions or on the use of services) form the basis for all US taxes.



  • @djls45 said in VAT fraud?:

    Property tax can only be assessed on commercial property, not private property,

    What? Where? Certainly not in Washington State.


  • Fake News

    @djls45 Yeah, uh, what @blakeyrat said. If property taxes were optional, I wouldn't be paying several thousand dollars a year simply because I own a house...



  • @blakeyrat said in VAT fraud?:

    @djls45 said in VAT fraud?:

    Property tax can only be assessed on commercial property, not private property,

    What? Where? Certainly not in Washington State.

    Everywhere that is called the United States of America. It's built into the Constitution.



  • @djls45 You are spouting world-class bullshit.


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