On 17 July 2017, the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 3 July 2017 No. 84-VI “On amendments and additions to some legislative acts of Kazakhstan on issues of improvement of law enforcement system” (the Law) will enter into force. The Law envisages the humanization and decriminalization of some criminal offenses in the economic domain, including in the field of taxation.

It should be noted that changes directed toward decriminalization of tax offences are the result of active work of individual taxpayers and various associations over the past few years. Lawyers from Dentons’ office in Kazakhstan have also participated in the development of suggestions for amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan (the Criminal Code) with regard to the exemption from criminal liability in case of voluntary payment of additionally assessed amounts of taxes.

As a result of such activities, several amendments were introduced to the Criminal Code which envisage, amongst others, exemption from criminal liability under Article 244 “Evasion of citizen from payment of taxes and (or) other mandatory payments to the budget” and Article 245 "Evasion from payment of tax and (or) other mandatory payments to the budget from organizations” subject to compliance with certain conditions.

In particular, Article 245 of the Criminal Code is supplemented with a Note stipulating the exemption from criminal liability for evasion from payment of taxes under the following conditions: (i) the offense is committed for the first time, except for the offence conducted by a criminal group, (ii) payment of tax debts and (or) other obligatory payments to the budget, as well as penalty interest are exercised on a voluntary basis.

Thus, when the above conditions are met, exemption from liability is incurred regardless of the amount of additionally accrued tax obligations that is both in respect of large amount, and very large amount. Herewith, the values of large and very large amount for the purposes of Article 245 of the Criminal Code have not undergone any changes.

However, for the purposes of Article 244 of the Criminal Code, the value of large amount has been increased 10 times (from 2 000 to 20 000 MCI), which also points to the decriminalization of tax offenses committed by citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan.