• Tax Evasion: More and More Voluntary Declarations in NRW
  • August 12, 2014 | Author: Michael Rainer
  • Law Firm: GRP Rainer LLP - Cologne Office
  • Clandestine accounts in Switzerland are clearly becoming too hot for many people. In the first half of 2014 in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), three times as many voluntary declarations of an incomplete tax return relating to Switzerland are reported to have been received than in the same period of the previous year.

    GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London - www.grprainer.com/en conclude: As reported by Focus Online, data from the Ministry of Finance for North Rhine-Westphalia shows that in this year already almost 4600 citizens have submitted a voluntary declaration in NRW. In June alone, this amounted to more than 500.

    It is clear that for many people who have invested untaxed illicit earnings in accounts in Switzerland or other tax havens things are becoming too hot. Since CDs on tax evaders are being purchased, prominent tax dodgers are making headlines and there has been a greater willingness between authorities to cooperate across borders, more and more voluntary declarations are being received by the competent taxation authorities.

    Another reason, without a doubt, is the planned tightening of the rules for voluntary declarations providing exemption from punishment in cases of tax evasion, which have been agreed on by the finance ministers of the Federal Government and the federal states (Länder) and should be adopted by the Federal Government before the summer recess. Another significant change besides the planned increase in penalties is that presumably as from 2015 it is not only the tax details for the past five years that have to be corrected but for the past ten years. This will make it substantially more difficult to prepare an exhaustive voluntary declaration of an incomplete tax return; however, it is only an exhaustive voluntary declaration that is submitted on time which provides exemption from punishment.

    Thus, tax evaders who wish to return to being tax compliant should not submit a voluntary declaration on their own or with the help of standard forms, as the individual circumstances of each voluntary declaration must be considered. The risk of things going wrong with the voluntary declaration without expert assistance is high. In the end, one could then be faced with a conviction for tax evasion. Those concerned should therefore turn to specialist tax advisors and lawyers versed in the field of tax law. They know exactly which details and documents have to be included in the voluntary declaration and will ensure that the exemption from punishment actually takes effect.