Criminal Tax Law/Voluntary Disclosure

You have a tax-related problem and are looking for a lawyer who advises you comprehensively on all current or preventive questions on tax criminal law and tax law? With our team of specialist lawyers and tax advisors, we assist you in creating your own voluntary disclosure of tax evasion and in strategically treating your tax case with our experience, expertise & a healthy level of pragmatism. ” BBT

In particular, the repeated purchase of data CDs from Switzerland, the pressure of Swiss banks on their customers to disclose their untaxed income, but above all by the far-reaching abolition of bank secrecy by more than 50 states (including Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Cayman Islands) from 2017 on, by signing the agreement on automatic tax data exchange in 2014, the topic of “voluntary disclosure of tax evasion” is more relevant than ever.

The danger of being detected is steadily increasing. Therefore, the taxpayers increasingly take advantage of the penalty-free voluntary-disclosure in order to avoid a possible, not insignificant punishment for tax evasion.

In case of tax evasion, a prison sentence of up to 5 years or a severe fine takes place. If it is a particularly severe case (in the case of an evasion of more than € 50,000, – taxes per crime, ie per year and tax type), the law even provides for imprisonment of up to 10 years.


In addition to impunity, the voluntary disclosure has the advantage that the taxpayer can now freely dispose of the foreign assets. Moreover, the problem of foreign black money is not transferred to the next generation. And finally, the return to tax honesty usually gives the taxpayer great relief and he can “sleep soundly” again.


The voluntary disclosure, however, only leads to impunity if the taxpayer gives the self-report, as long as:

  • the tax evasion is not discovered yet
  • an examination order or the initiation of a fine or criminal case has not yet been announced
  • and a tax inspector has not appeared yet to conduct a tax audit or to identify a tax offense.

For impunity, therefore, the timeliness of the submission of a voluntary disclosure is of crucial importance.


The content requirements of a voluntary disclosure have been tightened again significantly from 01.01.2015. Thus, a voluntary disclosure only leads to impunity, if the taxpayer completely corrects the incorrect information, amends incomplete information or provides information not previously submitted for all tax offenses of a type of tax that are not statute-barred (income tax, corporation tax, trade tax, sales tax, etc.), but at least for all tax offenses of a type of tax within the last ten calendar years. Conscious or tacitly accepted partial voluntary disclosure, in other words disclosure referring to only certain tax offences that are not statute-barred, is therefore no longer effective.

The main problem with voluntary disclosures is the question of how to classify and tax the financial products held by the taxpayer (bonds, shares, funds, financial innovations, etc.). Errors in the classification or evaluation may jeopardize the penalty-exempting effect of self-disclosure due to the resulting insufficient low taxation.


In case of an evasion of more than Euro 25.000, – taxes per act, ie per year and tax type, from January 1st, 2015 – in addition to evaded tax -, a penalty surcharge of 10% of the evaded tax is payable. From an encumbrance amount of more than € 100,000, – taxes per act, the penalty increases to 15% and from an encumbrance amount of more than € 1 million tax per act to 20%. In addition, a punitive penalty is now also applied in other cases of serious tax evasion.

Our specialised tax lawyers and tax accountants will advise you all-embracingly. Please contact us and we will discuss your options!