06. Oct 17

Tax evasion – Immunity through voluntary disclosure

Tax evasion is a crime. Notwithstanding this, it remains possible to submit a voluntary declaration leading to immunity in order to avoid a conviction.

Anyone who dodges taxes should anticipate severe penalties. With large sums of money slipping through the state’s fingers every year due to tax evasion, measures to combat tax evasion are constantly being stepped up. Those concerned may be faced with heavy fines or even custodial sentences.

Those who wish to avoid these outcomes but have concealed illicit earnings from the exchequer can still turn to voluntary disclosure as a means of obtaining immunity. However, for a voluntary declaration to lead to immunity it needs to be submitted on time and complete. If the tax evasion has already come to light then it is too late for voluntary disclosure. It is equally unhelpful if only part of the tax evasion is disclosed. Anybody submitting a voluntary declaration must put all of their cards on the table vis-à-vis the tax authorities and disclose all information from the past ten years that is relevant from a tax perspective. If the voluntary declaration is flawed, it can then only have a mitigating effect similar to a confession.

We at the commercial law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that laypersons who prepare a voluntary declaration on their own or with the help of standard templates often fail to meet the stringent requirements set by the legislature pertaining to voluntary disclosure, it being difficult to account for the complex processes and transactions. Consequently, errors in the voluntary declaration are practically inevitable in such cases. The result is that the voluntary declaration fails and a conviction for tax evasion is still a real prospect.

Those who wish to prevent this from happening can turn to tax advisors and lawyers who are experienced in the field of tax law. They know that there is no ready-made solution if a voluntary declaration is to be effective and that the circumstances of each individual case need to be examined and taken into account. This is the only way of preparing a voluntary declaration that satisfies all of the necessary requirements. They can also assist in procuring the required documents from the banks, with trusting and discrete cooperation with the client being essential to this end.

Only then is it possible for prepare the voluntary declaration so that it is complete, error free and thus leads to immunity.

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