The Penal and Fiscal Code in effect in Poland was adjusted to the norms in effect in European Union countries, which means that it expresses the principles of the laws of a democratic country and takes into account changes in market economy.
The keynote of the Code is first and foremost expiating harm inflicted by fiscal crime or offence in the form of paying too little public receivables. A secondary issue is assessing penalties for forbidden actions.
The principle is that the penal responsibility for fiscal crime or responsibility for fiscal offence is held only by someone who commits a socially noxious act that is forbidden under penalty by an act in effect at the time it was committed. Fiscal crime is an act forbidden by the Code under penalty of fine in daily rates, penalty of restriction of liberty, or penalty of imprisonment. Fiscal offence, however, is an act forbidden by the Code under penalty of fine determined as an amount, if the amount of the depleted or possibly depleted public receivables or the value of the subject of action does not exceed five times the amount of minimum wage for work done in the time it was committed. Fiscal wrongdoing is also another act, if the Code so provides.
The basic condition for fiscal penal responsibility is recognition of the act, i.e., the crime, or fiscal wrongdoing, as socially noxious. The evaluation of the degree of social noxiousness depends each time on the decision of the court or pretrial proceedings bodies initiating the fiscal penal proceedings.
Another condition for penal responsibility is the possibility of assigning a guilty party at the time of the act. The principle of nullum crimen sine culpa, i.e., there is no crime without culpability, was raised to the rank of constitutional law.
The Code determines necessary presumptions for assignment of a guilty party:
The perpetrator must be able to recognize the negative social significance of the committed crime or fiscal offence.
While the act is being committed, the perpetrator must be sound of mind, and therefore know what he is doing and be able to control his behavior.
The perpetrator must be able to recognize that the act is punishable, and therefore illegal, and contrary to definite legal norms.
While the act is being committed, the perpetrator cannot incorrectly gauge the circumstances excluding the illegality of the act.
The perpetrator knowingly committed the crime or fiscal wrongdoing, and thus wanted to commit a forbidden act, or foreseeing its commitment, agreed to it. The perpetrator can incur a penalty for unintentional acts, but only when the Code so provides.
The perpetrator can only be responsible for an act forbidden when it is committed.
In sum, fiscal penal responsibility can only be assumed by a person to whom guilt can be attributed at the moment that act is committed, circumstances excluding responsibility do not arise, the committed act is forbidden in the moment it is committed, and the behavior of the perpetrator is intentional.