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Have you not declared, or not fully declared, income or foreign assets to the tax authorities? If so, this is viewed as a criminal offence. The tax authorities are doing everything they can to track down undisclosed foreign assets. Treaties are being entered into (with Switzerland and Luxembourg, for example). These state that countries can exchange information with one another. Banking secrecy is the subject of debate in many countries.
Fines and criminal prosecution
What if the tax authorities discover that you have not disclosed assets and income? Tax assessments can then be issued. And high fines can also be imposed – up to 300%! You can also face criminal prosecution.
Prevention is better than cure
If you provide the tax authorities with full disclosure of your own accord, it is a different situation. This is referred to as voluntary disclosure. You have to do this in good time, however: in any event before the tax authorities are on to you, and send you a letter of questions, for example. You will receive an additional tax assessment for the tax owed plus interest, but you will not get a 300% fine, or face criminal prosecution for inaccurate returns.
As of 1 July 2016, the fine is increased again to 120%. Plans are also being made to abolish the possibility for voluntary disclosure in 2018.
Voluntary disclosure is a complex matter. It has to be tackled carefully. The lawyers at Jaeger have a great deal of experience of this. We can calculate in advance what you will have to pay. After this, we arrange full coordination with the tax authorities for you. The result is that you can have free access to your assets again afterwards.