Tax evasion - self-disclosure advice

Triggered by the public discussion of prominent cases of self-disclosure (Hoeness, Schwarzer), the German legislature has again made major changes less than four years after the last comprehensive reform of the regulations on self-disclosure in tax offenses came into force. Significant tightening came into force at the beginning of the year, in particular:

  • extension of the correction period to ten years;
  • Extension of the grounds for bans that stand in the way of impunity;
  • Extension of the scope of 398a AO (payment of an evasion amount from as little as 25,000 euros) and staggered increase in the penalty surcharge;
  • Payment of evasion interest and interest according to § 233a AO as a prerequisite for effectiveness;
  • Extension of the tax suspension for taxes on certain capital gains.

However, even after the new regulations, there is still the possibility of self-disclosure without penalty in the case of large amounts of evasion. Apart from Section 371, Paragraph 2, Clause 1, No. 3 AO, there is still no de facto upper limit for self-disclosures, contrary to some of the opposition's demands. This means that so-called "million self-disclosures" are still possible.

However, the new regulations have also brought simplifications into force, e.g. the explicit reintroduction of partial self-disclosure in the area of wage tax or sales tax. The so-called infection effect in company audits was also abolished. Especially for entrepreneurs, the law prior to May 11, 2011 was partially restored when criminal tax incidents were subsequently settled. In the new regulations, however, the legislator has not regulated some questions conclusively or clearly, e.g. the question of how the ten-year period for the correction period is calculated, so that comprehensive advice and intensive support for the voluntary disclosure by a specialist is still mandatory.

The experiences of the past few years show that more and more heirs are confronted with "legacy burdens" and are looking for the right way to deal with them. In addition to the fact that an heir may be liable to prosecution by failing to report under Section 153 Paragraph 1 Clause 2 of the Fiscal Code, there is above all the problem that improperly declared assets (e.g. in Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, on the British Channel Islands etc.) can hardly be used at the moment. It's "tangled" in a way, as banks now often refuse to make withdrawals or transfers to other accounts without proof of proper declaration of capital income. So the assets cannot be used at all. However, there is still the possibility of legally returning "entangled" assets to Germany and thus being able to use them at all without having to fear criminal penalties.

We are at your disposal for all questions in this connection. Please make an appointment with Mr. Gast, a lawyer specializing in inheritance and tax law. He will take care of your questions in a comprehensive initial consultation. A fee of EUR 350 plus VAT is agreed for this.

Your request will be treated strictly confidentially and anonymously. We are subject to the legal duty of confidentiality. In this context, please note that your tax advisor is not the right person to contact as of right for certain aspects relating to double taxation agreements or self-disclosure. Because if tax income is not declared, there is a risk that the tax investigators will accuse him of aiding and abetting tax evasion. However, under certain circumstances, the ban on confiscation of documents held by the tax consultant, which basically exists under Section 97 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO), may then no longer apply.

If you are a tax consultant, we would also be happy to advise you in such conflict situations. We also have many years of criminal law litigation experience in such cases.

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