Voluntary Declarations Soar In Germany In 2013
13 June 2013
Posted by: Author: Ulrika Lomas
Author: Ulrika Lomas
The number of voluntary tax declarations submitted by German taxpayers wishing to regularize their hitherto unreported income has soared so far this year, already almost surpassing the total recorded by the authorities in the whole of 2012.
A recent survey of Germany's federal states, conducted by Manager Magazin Online, revealed that 6,358 voluntary declarations had been filed as at June 2013. This figure compares to the total 7,127 recorded last year. Indeed, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the number of taxpayers opting to regularize their fiscal situation this year is already more than four times the number of voluntary declarations filed in 2012.
According to federal state figures, 1,580 taxpayers had submitted a declaration as at May 15 in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, 1,076 declarations had been received as at June 6 in NRW, while 981 taxpayers had reported their income as at May 31 in Bavaria, 776 had repented as at June 10 in Rhineland-Palatinate, and 697 had filed a declaration as at June 4 in Hesse.
The findings of the survey are a clear indication that pressure is mounting on individuals to regularize their undeclared income. Pressure is perhaps greatest on those resident in federal states renowned for their overzealous purchases of illegally obtained banking data, as a means to oust alleged tax evaders.
In addition, news that Bayern Munich football club chairman Uli Hoeneß submitted a voluntary declaration to the German tax authorities, regarding an undeclared Swiss account, has also spurred taxpayers into action. The announcement prompted renewed calls by German Opposition parties for the voluntary declaration regulation in the country's criminal tax law to be removed.
As a result, a working group is to be set up to examine how the provision, which grants impunity from prosecution following a voluntary declaration of undeclared assets, could be further tightened as part of efforts to clamp down on tax evasion. The tax amnesty provision was first restricted by the black-yellow coalition Government back in 2011.
Finally, under intense pressure to ensure tax compliance from their foreign customers, banks in Switzerland have urged their German clients with unreported assets to settle their tax obligations with the German tax authorities immediately. Some banks have even threatened to freeze accounts, if they remain undeclared by the end of the year.