Can you go to jail for debts?

October 4, 2017 At the time of the first Piasts, the insolvent debtor became the property of the creditor. Today, an unpaid loan is threatened by bailiff’s execution. You cannot go to jail for any outstanding financial obligations. The exception is when the debt is due to non-payment of maintenance. Also, an offense punishable by imprisonment is withholding property from a bailiff and extorting credit or a loan. 

Number of prisoners in Poland

Number of prisoners in Poland

In Poland, the number of prisoners is 73 417, including 2813 women. Interestingly, 2,700 people are imprisoned for unpaid maintenance debts.

According to the National Debt Register, the debt of Polish consumers is PLN 32.5 billion. Statistically indebted people are men aged 36-45. The average amount of the liability is PLN 18 thousand. Can I get to jail for failing to pay my credit or loan?

Are you in danger of being in jail?

Are you in danger of being in jail?

Dura lex sed lex – this Roman sentence fits perfectly with the laws applicable in … the United Arab Emirates. In the UAE, you go to jail for your outstanding loans. Therefore, debtors (in most cases foreigners) prefer to abandon the luxury car bought on borrowed money on the side of the road and flee the country.

According to current regulations in Poland, you cannot go to prison for unpaid debts. The penalty for evading a loan is execution by bailiffs followed by an auction of property.

An exception may be situations when the debtor knowingly conceals assets from a bailiff. The sanction may also apply to persons who deliberately do not pay their liabilities. Such situations can be interpreted by the prosecutor’s office as extortion. The prison also threatens those who avoid paying taxes.

Situation threatened with imprisonment

  1. Non-payment of maintenance debt
  2. Concealment of assets before a bailiff
  3. Phishing loan or loan
  4. Debt arising from non-payment of tax

Sanction for dishonest alimmen – prison for maintenance

Persons who do not pay child support are punished by imprisonment of up to 2 years. It is worth noting that in June 2017, the amendment to the Penal Code entered into force. The amendment provides for sanctions for those alimonists who are in arrears with payment for at least 3 months. The maintenance debtor will avoid being punished if he settles the debt within a month of receiving the request for payment.

Interestingly, the debt of dishonest alimenders amounts to PLN 11 billion. The average debt per head is PLN 33,725 (January 2017). The record belongs to a resident of Podkarpacie – his maintenance obligation is PLN 723 thousand. zł.

How to cheat a bailiff – i.e. criminal liability for concealing property

How to cheat a bailiff - i.e. criminal liability for concealing property

Some debtors against whom bailiff proceedings are pending hide their property from the enforcer. It is worth noting that in accordance with art. 300 of the Penal Code, this act is punishable by up to 8 years imprisonment. In 2016, 2,478 proceedings were initiated in connection with “thwarting or reducing the satisfaction of creditors”.

The most popular ways of concealing assets are

  1. Transfer of property to a family member – depletion of property is sanctioned by imprisonment from 3 months to 5 years
  2. Undercutting remuneration – the debtor makes an appointment with the employer to reduce earnings to an amount that is free of bailiff’s attachment The rest of the salary is paid in cash, in black
  3. False divorce and alimony – the debtor divorces and undertakes to pay maintenance to the notary for the ex-spouse. The benefit is not paid and the maintenance debt goes to the bailiff. It is worth noting that the enforcer first takes over the property due to unpaid alimony, and only then takes care of the rest of the claim
  4. Sale of property – after cash in tangible goods, the debtor hides money

Tax avoidance – tax debts punishable by prison

Tax avoidance - tax debts punishable by prison

A taxpayer who hides income to reduce his tax liability commits a crime. A person whose conduct exposes the State Treasury to losses as a result of tax depletion is punishable by a fine or imprisonment. In some cases, both penalties may be awarded simultaneously.

On the other hand, a payer who is notoriously late in paying tribute, commits tax offenses. This is punishable by a fine.

Important – a single failure to pay e.g. a tax on a loan is not a crime. In this situation, the taxpayer will not be held criminally responsible.

How to get out of debt and avoid losing your property?

How to get out of debt and avoid losing your property?

A debtor whose financial situation does not allow for a smooth recovery from debt should, first of all:

  • Be in constant contact with the creditor. A friendly solution can be the key to eliminating debt
  • Respond to bailiff’s letters – by compromising with the enforcer, you will avoid property auctions
  • To have additional income – increasing external influence through occasional work will significantly reduce debt
  • Declaration of consumer bankruptcy – after the bankruptcy proceedings are over, the court introduces a debt repayment plan. In this case, the debt settlement consists of payments in installments. The claim is settled in part. The repayment period under bankruptcy can last a maximum of 3 years
  • Take out a debt-free loan – in this case you should be careful not to lead to even greater debt
  • Wait for the statute of limitations on debt. However, this is an inefficient method, because the creditor will take steps to recover the debt before the debt expires. Cash loans or online loans expire after 3 years.

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