Tax evaders who now act swiftly and submit a voluntary declaration can save a lot of money because penalty surcharges in the context of voluntary disclosure will substantially increase from 2015.
GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London - www.grprainer.com/en conclude: The path back to a state of tax compliance remains open to tax evaders. It will, however, be considerably rockier from 2015 due to the increasing requirements pertaining to voluntary disclosure and the substantial increase in penalty surcharges.
For this reason, repentant tax evaders ought to take prompt action now and submit their voluntary declaration this year. It is currently possible for a voluntary declaration to lead to complete immunity for sums of evaded taxes up to 50,000 euros. This amount will be halved to 25,000 euros from 2015. In cases involving amounts above this threshold, tiered penalty surcharges will fall due. Additionally, all tax-relevant data from the past ten years will have to be disclosed to the tax authorities. This will make it more difficult to submit a complete voluntary declaration.
A voluntary declaration can only be effective if it is complete and submitted on time. Thus, no investigation proceedings can already be underway. However, it is not easy even today to satisfy these requirements. Even small mistakes in the voluntary declaration can result in it failing and consequently a conviction for tax evasion. This can lead to drastic fines or even custodial sentences. To be on the safe side, the voluntary declaration should not therefore be submitted on one’s own or with the help standard templates. Instead, lawyers and tax advisors who are competent in the field of tax law ought to be consulted. They can appraise each case individually and know which information and documents are necessary for the voluntary declaration to be complete. Moreover, they can also assess whether the tax evasion has already become time-barred.
Even a timely and complete voluntary declaration can only lead to immunity if the tax liability plus interest and, as the case may be, any penalty surcharges are paid within a short timeframe.