Terrified tax dodgers turning themselves in

Terrified tax dodgers turning themselves in
Photo: DPA
The number of tax dodgers turning themselves in has reportedly risen dramatically in recent days, following the German government’s decision to purchase stolen bank data on secret Swiss accounts.

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.

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.

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