As long as no criminal proceedings for tax evasion have been initiated, those affected in Germany can obtain immunity from prosecution by submitting a voluntary disclosure. However, this has to meet certain requirements in order to be effective. If the voluntary disclosure is ineffective, not only will the impunity be lost, but the person concerned will simultaneously provide the tax office with all the evidence on the silver platter.
Effective voluntary disclosure eliminates criminal liability for tax evasion that has already occurred. The German tax authorities do usually initiate tax criminal proceedings after a voluntary declaration is submitted. However, this primarily has the purpose of reviewing the effectiveness of the voluntary disclosure itself. If the requirements for an effective self-disclosure are met, the tax authorities will halt the tax criminal proceedings previously initiated.
After receiving a voluntary disclosure of tax evasion, the tax authorities will change all tax assessments or issue new tax assessments, provided the deadline for this has not expired. In specific cases, this period can be up to 13 years. The outstanding taxes within this period must be paid later. In addition, there is tax interest and evasion interest. Delay surcharges are also possible.
If your voluntary disclosure is not formally effective, there will be no impunity. Possible consequences of the voluntary disclosure could then be:
- the ban on engaging in commercial activities
- disciplinary measures for civil servants
- specifically regulated sanctions for members of the tax or legal advisory professions and bank employees
Every voluntary declaration of tax evasion is different. It must be tailored to your personal situation so as to prevent things from going from bad to worse. Therefore, a criminal tax lawyer should always be contacted before submitting a voluntary disclosure.
The voluntary declaration must also be drawn up and submitted quickly to keep the path to impunity from closing. After the formal announcement that a criminal investigation has been initiated, it is too late for a voluntary declaration. The same applies in the event of house searches or the issuing of examination orders.
In Germany, additionally to the tax debtors themselves, other perpetrators or participants in tax evasion are also liable for the evaded taxes, illegitimately granted tax benefits and evasion interests. The practical meaning of this regulation mainly refers to persons who work for the tax debtor, e.g.
- their tax advisor
- the managing director of a GmbH
- the board of an association
- spouses who have actively participated in tax evasion activities
Do you need legal advice on voluntary disclosure? Our specialist attorneys and tax counselors answer all your questions about tax evasion, tax criminal proceedings and voluntary decöarations. In a personal meeting, we assess with you whether immediate action is indicated, which residual risks exist and how the following steps should be planned. Absolute confidentiality and discretion are a matter of course for our attorneys.
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