• BGH: Tightening Of Jurisprudence on Criminal Code for Tax Offences
  • April 30, 2013
  • Law Firm: GRP Rainer LLP - Cologne Office
  • The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has seemingly tightened the jurisprudence on tax evasion. This shall particularly concern tax evaders who have failed to pay tax on multi-million euro amounts. 

    GRP Rainer Lawyers Tax Advisors, Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Hanover, Bremen, Nuremberg, Essen and London www.grprainer.com/en explain: Such considerations appear to have emerged from the BGH judgment dated 7 February 2012 (Az.:1 StR 525/11). The BGH thereby reversed a judgment of a regional court due to an error of law in calculating a penalty. 

    In the case before the regional court, the defendant is said to have evaded taxes in an amount of several million euros. He was nevertheless subsequently convicted with a suspended sentence. The BGH had previously stated in a leading case that a suspended sentence could no longer be considered where evaded taxes amount to millions of euros. A suspended sentence is now only possible if certain mitigating circumstances exist that would justify such an assessment.

    Following a legal appraisal of the particular case, the regional court came to the conclusion that there was a serious case of tax evasion. However, in the view of the BGH, the regional court’s penalty calculation exhibited drastic deficiencies. It continued to adhere to its previous jurisprudence, according to which a suspended sentence is only acceptable with regard to tax evasion on such a scale if substantial mitigating circumstances were to exist in favour of the defendant.

    As these were not present in the instant case according to the view of the BGH, it referred the matter back to the regional court to be decided anew.

    Nevertheless, it is advisable for parties concerned to seek out a lawyer active in the fields of commercial law and the criminal code for tax offences. Realisations in economic offence proceedings and economic offences arise more frequently and quickly than is generally supposed. Defendants in economic offence proceedings find themselves confronted with highly qualified specialist public prosecutors and economic crimes courts, which make it essential for their defence to have an appropriately trained lawyer.

    A lawyer can provide you with reliable and qualified assistance. While handling your criminal defence, he can also furnish opinions pertaining to criminal law or give advice on criminal law compliance issues. Moreover, a lawyer can elucidate the jurisprudence of the supreme courts for you. All in all, a lawyer can prepare the highly complicated criminal proceedings in a way that is understandable for you, so that all opportunities remain open to you with respect to the subsequent criminal proceedings.