Rechnungshof

Tax shortfalls of more than EUR 400 million due to reliefs from mineral oil tax

14.02.2020 - Federal Ministry of Finance should evaluate reliefs from mineral oil tax

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Today, the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) presented four follow-up reports:

Federal ministry should evaluate reliefs from mineral oil tax

In 2016, the ACA audited the “Collection of Excise Duties”. As shown by the follow-up audit published today, the Federal Ministry of Finance failed to implement six of twelve assessed recommendations issued by the ACA. The ministry, for example, did not evaluate the level and necessity of reliefs from mineral oil tax and the numerous different tax rates. In 2017, the volume of tax reliefs from mineral oil tax was still high, totalling some EUR 1.152 billion.

The internal audit division of the Federal Ministry of Finance also found fault in the tax reliefs: it criticized in particular the tax relief from marked gas oil. Such oil can also be used as fuel for diesel engines, but was taxed three times cheaper than diesel. This means that, with the same level of taxation, the tax revenue for marked gas oil would have been higher by more than EUR 400 million per year from 2015 to 2017. The ACA therefore once again recommends to the ministry to evaluate whether reliefs from mineral oil tax and the various numerous tax rates are still necessary.

Another point of criticism issued by the ACA concerns the decrease in control measures and the increased risk of misuse of tax reliefs and unwanted tax shortfalls related thereto. In the light of the high volume of reliefs from mineral oil tax, the ACA perceives risk-adjusted checks as necessary and recommends to provide appropriate resources to this end.

AMA Marketing: need for improvement as regards the settlement of accounts

AMA Marketing implemented the ACA’s recommendations either fully or at least partly. The ACA still sees a need for improvement as regards the settlement of accounts with cooperation partners. Such settlements should not be recorded via a blanket system. In order to ensure more transparency, the ACA recommends to account services by items. Furthermore, the follow-up audit shows that – despite improvements – the agreement concluded between AMA Marketing and the Kuratorium Kulinarisches Erbe Österreich (Austria’s culinary heritage association) still had formal shortcomings. Another recommendation issued by the ACA to the AMA Marketing is therefore as follows: to specify the purpose of funds in the agreements and to ensure that the formal requirements are met.

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Report: Collection of Excise Duties; Follow-up Audit (in German)

From September to November 2018, the ACA carried out an audit at the Federal Ministry of Finance and the customs offices of the regions Vienna and St. Pölten Krems Wiener Neustadt in order to assess the state of implementation of the recommendations issued in its previous report.

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Report: Agrarmarkt Austria Marketing GesmbH; Follow-up Audit (in German)

In January 2019, the ACA carried out an audit at the Agrarmarkt Austria Marketing GesmbH in order to assess the state of implementation of the recommendations issued in its previous report.

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Report: Provision of Services by Selected Hospitals in the Province of Styria; Follow-up Audit (in German)

In February, the ACA carried out an audit of the province of Styria, the health fund of Styria, the Steiermärkische Krankenanstaltengesellschaft m.b.H. as the legal owner of the hospitals of Hartberg and Weiz as well as the Marienkrankenhaus Vorau Gemeinnützige GmbH as the legal owner of the hospital Marienkrankenhaus Vorau in order to assess the state of implementation of the recommendations issued in its previous report.

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Report: Cancellation of Tax Arrears; Follow-up Audit (in German)

In September and October 2018, the ACA carried out an audit at the Federal Ministry of Finance to assess the state of implementation of the recommendations issued in its previous report.

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