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TAXES

German prosecutors raid Porsche in corruption probe

Prosecutors in Stuttgart said they raided German sports car maker and Volkswagen subsidiary Porsche on Tuesday on suspicion that an auditor was bribed to pass information to the company's tax advisor.

German prosecutors raid Porsche in corruption probe
Porsche cars for sale in Bremen. Photo: DPA

The investigators suspect that “an official from the Stuttgart business audit office revealed confidential information to a tax advisor of Porsche AG and accepted benefits in exchange,” they said in a statement.

Almost 200 police and prosecutors searched the luxury car maker's offices, tax collectors' offices, a tax advisor's office and private homes in and around Stuttgart for paper and digital documents.

On top of the bribery probe, investigators suspect the company made “unjustified” and “disproportionately large” payments to a former works council member.

Six people, including some from the company leadership, “may have committed fraud against Porsche AG” they said.

Porsche confirmed to AFP that the searches had taken place, adding that the carmaker “is cooperating fully with the authorities.”

On top of the bribery probe, investigators suspect the company made
“unjustified” and “disproportionately large” payments to a former works
council member.

They “may have committed fraud against Porsche AG,” said prosecutors.

The former works council member was not one of the people under suspicion, prosecutors said.

Earlier this month, Porsche agreed to pay a fine of 535 million over its role in the separate “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal.

Its parent company Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to manipulating 11 million vehicles worldwide to appear less polluting in the lab than on the road.

SEE ALSO: Luxury carmaker Porsche fined 535 million over diesel cheating scandal

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CROSS-BORDER WORKERS

Germany and France extend Covid tax breaks for cross-border workers

Germany and France have agreed to extend the relaxation of tax rules for cross-border workers until the end of the year.

Cross-border workers commute by car but they can for now continue to work at home
Cross-border workers usually have to commute but can for now continue to work at home.. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

The agreements between France and the governments of Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Italy avoids double taxation issues for anyone travelling across the French border to or from those countries in order to work.

During the pandemic, tax rules were eased to allow French cross-border employees, like their counterparts in Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Italy, to work from home without having to change their tax status.

The deals, which were established at the beginning of the health crisis in March 2020, were due to end on September 30th – and would have plunged cross-border workers still working from home because of the health crisis into renewed uncertainty over their taxes.

The latest extension of these agreements means there’s no confusion over where a cross-border worker pays their taxes until December 31st – for example cross-border workers who work in Geneva but live in France, who normally pay their taxes and social security contributions in Switzerland. 

Under normal circumstances, anyone living in France who works in Switzerland can spend no more than 25 percent of their time working from home. If they exceed this time limit, they would have to pay these tax charges tin France rather than in Switzerland, which would be much higher.

The agreements between France and Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland “provide that days worked at home because of the recommendations and health instructions related to the Covid-19 pandemic may … be considered as days worked in the state where [workers] usually carry out their activity and therefore remain taxable,” according to the statement from the French Employment Ministry.

In the case of Luxembourg, days worked from home because of the health crisis are not counted in usual the 29 day limit.

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