If accounts are kept incorrectly, the company may be sanctioned. This could mean a fine or even a prison sentence.
When the company books are kept incorrectly or if a company does not fulfill its obligations, it should expect to be fined or may even be served a prison sentence. Neglecting certain procedural obligations, such as producing an incomplete balance sheet or forgetting to publish figures, is enough to incur a sanction.
Tax evasion is also an infringement of procedural obligations. If someone does not declare, for example, an account or petty cash account (which does not deduct tax at source) or, as a controlling shareholder, they hide profit distribution, they will have committed an offence. Under these circumstances, the person will have to pay a fine and will receive a tax payment reminder. It is important to know that tax evasion can occur due to negligence and may not necessarily be premeditated. For example, this is the case if you forget to give information on certain income when completing your tax return.
In the case of tax fraud, the guilty party has to have acted with premeditation and the intention to undertake tax evasion and mislead the tax authorities. These conditions are met if those in a position of responsibility present accounts, balance sheets, profit and loss accounts or pay slips that do not present the real situation, i.e. they pocket cash earnings instead of putting these earnings through the books.
Someone who underhandedly hides services from the authorities (e.g. customs tax or VAT) is guilty of fraud in terms of services and contributions. Someone who presents falsified documents (especially vis-à-vis inaccurate accounting) or who creates false information in order to cover his/her fraudulent intentions is acting in a particularly underhand manner.
Someone who commits tax fraud, services and contributions fraud or fraud concerning tax withheld at source is liable to a prison sentence of up to three years or a fine of up to CHF 30,000.
An entrepreneur who provides false or overly optimistic information about the company’s situation to his/her colleagues has also committed an offence. Nevertheless, the prerequisite in this situation is that the false information must be of significant importance and that this information is then published (e.g. the annual report for the General Meeting).