Area of expertise

Voluntary disclosures

The acquisition of tax CDs by the tax authorities, increasing international reporting obligations and high-profile cases of tax evasion by celebrities in the media have focused the public eye on voluntary disclosures. According to a survey by the German newspaper "Die Welt", the tax authorities received approx. 40,000 voluntary disclosures in 2014. Legislators have also reacted to this and significantly tightened existing requirements for all voluntary disclosures to qualify as penalty-free with effect from 1st January 2015. The legal institution of voluntary disclosure as described by § 371 Para. 1 AO (German Tax Code) essentially remains in effect. However, the requirements, and in particular the financial consequences, have been tightened significantly. In particular, the limit up to which tax evasion (without payment of an additional sum of money) does not incur a criminal penalty if voluntary disclosure is performed was reduced from 50,000 euros to 25,000 euros. For sums greater than this, an exemption from criminal penalties can only be given if a supplemental fee is paid simultaneously. This supplemental fee varies depending on the amount involved in the tax evasion case: 10 percent for sums exceeding 25,000 euros, 15 percent for sums exceeding 100,000, and 20 percent for sums exceeding 1 million euros. Until these changes took effect, the supplemental fee was 5 percent for an amount of 50,000 euros and above.

We offer you comprehensive and solution-oriented consultations for voluntary disclosures. In order for a voluntary disclosure to qualify for an exemption from criminal penalties, full disclosure of all past tax-related circumstances and income is required. In practice, it is above all the determination of this income which poses the greater challenge.

Above all, our range of services includes the following:

  • Solution-oriented consulting for supplementary tax returns and voluntary declarations
  • Advice and representation in the case of tax investigation measures (raids, seizures)
  • Representation in tax-related opposition proceedings and lawsuits in relation to criminal tax proceedings
  • Prevention and avoidance of tax offences