More Germans Disclosing Hidden Funds

February 22, 2010 Offshore BankingOffshore TaxationTax HavensTaxation in GermanyTaxation in Switzerland

Swiss BankGerman nationals are declaring their hidden Swiss based assets in increasing numbers, after the Government disclosed its intention to purchase data on tax evaders with bank accounts in Switzerland.

The German Government has reported that its latest move in the fight against tax evasion is having a positive effect, with a sharply increased number of German nationals opting to voluntarily disclose their hidden bank accounts. Since the Government announced its intention to purchase information on 1 500 German tax evaders, an additional 3 021 voluntary declarations have been made to local tax authorities across the country. Four German states have already revealed that their combined disclosure holdings amount to €233 million.

On February 2nd the German Government announced its intention to procure data obtained from Swiss banks, featuring information on German account holders. The move saw the Bavarian Finance Ministry immediately receive 644 disclosures, and authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia reported 572 in the two weeks following. The spike has been attributed to the Government’s avid encouragement for tax evaders to come forward before the commencement of an investigation, and see a possible reduction in penalties and leniency with prosecution. The apparent pre-emptive success of the Government’s purchase has already seen estimates of its benefits rise to €400 million, over the original €100 million projections.

While the purchase announcement has been heralded as a positive move by many experts, Alfred Heer, President of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), has accused this plan of being hypocritical on the part of German Government members. According to him, several prominent German political figures currently hold undeclared Swiss banks accounts, and he will work towards a law which allows their names to be published, should the Germany pursue its acquisition of Swiss bank data.

Photo by marcokalmann