Thousands in Germany confess to tax evasion

Thousands in Germany confess to tax evasion
# 19 February 2010 21:17 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. About 2,500 people in Germany have confessed to tax evasion to avoid punishment amid a heated debate over whether authorities should buy stolen data from Swiss bank accounts, experts said Friday, APA reports quoting Associated Press.
The German Tax Union, an association of fiscal officers, said the government could earn some euro300 million ($405 million) in extra taxes without even buying the data.
"Judging from the first cases, an average of euro100,000 to euro150,000 per case have been paid," Union head Dieter Ondracek told Bayerischer Rundfunk Radio.
"That’s millions already in the bag," he said.
Authorities for weeks have publicly discussed buying at least two CDs with stolen data. One reportedly contains 1,500 names of tax evaders and has been offered by an informant for euro2.5 million. The second contains 2,000 names, its price is unknown.
According to German law, tax evaders who turn themselves in will not be prosecuted, though they still owe the government the avoided taxes.
The government on Friday confirmed newspaper reports that Switzerland has officially requested legal assistance from German authorities for their own investigation related to tax evasion cases.
The "Stuttgarter Nachrichten" newspaper had reported in its Friday edition that the intention of the Swiss request was likely to delay the German acquisition of the data.
Justice Ministry spokesman Anders Mertzlufft said the government was looking into the Swiss request. He did not say, however, whether it could hold up purchase of the CDs.