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Terrified tax dodgers turning themselves in

DDP/The Local · 15 Feb 2010, 10:27

Published: 15 Feb 2010 10:27 GMT+01:00

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Business daily the Financial Times Deutschland surveyed the country’s 16 states, which reported that the estimated back tax revenues would reach into the hundreds of millions of euros.

In the southern state of Bavaria alone, some 291 repentant tax dodgers have contacted authorities over the last week – up significantly from fewer than 20 the week before, the paper said.

Meanwhile in the port city of Hamburg the number of those trying to avoid investigation rose from 10 to 88. Fiscal authorities there told the paper they expect unpaid taxes from these cases to reach €20 million.

Authorities in the eastern state of Saxony told the paper they had fielded 174 cases in connection with the purchase of the account data, and expect €11.3 million in recovered tax revenue so far.

The state of Hesse reported 113 cases, Berlin 112, and the state of Schleswig-Holstein 36, the paper said. North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg plan to release their numbers during the coming week.

Meanwhile Rolf Schwedhelm, the lawyer of convicted tax dodger and former Deutsche Post head Klaus Zumwinkel, reported his firm had already advised more than 100 people on turning themselves in. Some clients had reported hiding sums in the double-digit millions.

In early February, Berlin said it would pay for data on some 1,500 suspected tax dodgers with funds stashed in Swiss accounts, dismissing criticism aside that the allegedly stolen material would not stand up in court.

Story continues below…

Initially experts said the informant’s information would lead to some €100 million in recovered tax money for the country, but actual sums are now estimated at upwards of €400 million, reportedly located mainly at the Credit Suisse bank.

Government sources have said that the situation was the largest tax evasion discovery in German history.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:53 February 15, 2010 by Talonx
Funny how it's always the rich that resort to this sort of irresponsible behavior.
12:28 February 15, 2010 by ChussKeDweele
This makes me happy. I wonder, however, how much these bastards are hiding elsewhere
12:46 February 15, 2010 by saar
This is a trick to lure the suckers out. The government is not going to buy anything.
13:05 February 15, 2010 by pepsionice
What starts this behavior....is the governmental idea of expanding tax structure. The richer you tend to be....the more of your wealth you will hand back to the government. It's an expanding rate. So why bother taking risks or making any real substantial income? Or you come to agree that investing outside of the country is simply smarter.

In the long run....the Germans will chase the these guys out of Liechtenstein and Switzerland. I think this is the primary goal....in hopes that they will keep the money within Germany or face problems. But the truth of the matter is that people are already sitting there and devising new hiding areas....way past the region of Europe....and likely going into Africa and the Pacific region.

So this all looks good on the news....but in three years....it'll just drive the rich folks to admit German taxes are too much and they will find outside vehicles to hide money.
13:36 February 15, 2010 by Talonx
Pepsionice, you make this sound like some sort of popular resistance program, this is a minority crew of the wealthiest few that seek to skirt their tax obligations. If they were really so principled as you suggest, why don't they make a principled stand in the manner of Gandhi?
14:27 February 15, 2010 by bowater
if we bought property, knowing it was stolen, we would go to jail. the government is a representation of the people, it should live by the same standards.
16:56 February 16, 2010 by Bushdiver
I wonder how many posters here have paid taxes on everything they made? I don't imagine you are are all thinking that this recovered tax money will lessen the tax burden on others who proudly pay their taxes. I think a good lawyer and this CD would be thrown out as evidence. Who knows, they might not of even bought the CD but just the chance of it being purchased is enough to scare a lot of people. In the end it's not just the tax evaders but the tax payers that get screwed.
18:17 February 16, 2010 by Legal E
Regarding the question of use of data in court. In EU countries (except DE it seems). To be prosecuted by a civil crime, evidence has to be obtained legally. Only a silly court thing. As if its not obtained legally, then the conviction will be quashed. As an example, entrampment is not allowed. However, it seems that DE government only uses international laws when it can be bothered or when it is to their advantage.
21:00 February 16, 2010 by Johnny Cash
If the tax system was seen as fair and people could see their taxes were not being spent frivolously then there might be a lot less tax dodgers in the first place. When I see the state wasting millions on a barbecue for that lower primate Geoge W Bush then I am a lot less likely to cough up my hard earned money willingly. This debate is really about fiscal responsibility and morality in Government. This government is showing neither.
12:50 February 17, 2010 by Talonx
Frivolous spending, on what Johnny? Education, health, research, the unemployed?
13:32 February 17, 2010 by tollermann
I was wondering, If you think your socialist state is worth it? Why not hand over all of your money and let the government decide how much you need!
15:13 February 17, 2010 by Talonx
Tollermann, Like many EU nations, Germany doesn't really tax its students. When I first got here, I stomached a year and a half of taxes, but even then I saw the benefits in public transportation, qualtiy health care, and the rest. Now, having been a student in Germany for about another year and a half, I like it even more. When I'm no longer a student, I'll stick around and help pay for the next generation and I'll be able to afford it without being in debt. I still have debt in the U.S. from my undergraduate studies, I wish I had just come here from the beginning.
18:19 February 17, 2010 by tollermann
Talonx, I prefer to pay my own way. Stick around in Germany to pay for a future generation? Of a bunch of Turks? I am so glad I left, as I said before I do not have a death wish for the west in my home. I have 5 kids with one marriage. As far as school, my wife has an undergraduate degree and we have zero debt. I have a graduate degree from an excellent school where we have many study abroad students from germany. 99% want to stay in America and have asked me for assistance in staying....have a great life!
21:55 February 17, 2010 by Talonx
Tollermann, we pay our own way over here too. We just have a smarter way of doing it, wereby everyone gets a chance no matter if they come from a poor or rich family. Additionally, I'm sorry you think Turks are not worth the same amount of care as the rest of humanity. Finally, that's great for you, that you're able to convince children to do what you think is best.
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