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GRP Rainer LLP

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Submit a voluntary declaration leading to immunity for tax evasion while you still can

August 2017

A voluntary declaration leading to immunity for tax evasion needs to be tailored to the exact circumstances of a given case. Only then can voluntary declaration actually lead to immunity.

A lot of tax evaders have already taken advantage of the opportunity to submit a voluntary declaration leading to immunity. While the number of voluntary declarations has dropped significantly since the requirements associated with voluntary disclosure became more stringent as of January 1, 2015, it is still a viable option. We at the law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that for a voluntary declaration to be capable of leading to immunity, it needs fulfil various criteria. It has to be submitted on time, i.e. before the tax evasion is detected by the authorities, complete and free from errors.

It is only when these criteria have been fulfilled that a voluntary declaration can lead to immunity. It is still assumed that untaxed income is being concealed from the exchequer in foreign accounts, e.g. in Switzerland, Austria as well as in other former tax havens. However, the risk of these illicit funds being discovered has increased appreciably, not least due to the automatic exchange of financial information among more than 100 countries. For tax dodgers with illicit funds in foreign accounts, this means that they need to take action if they still wish to submit a voluntary declaration and return to a state of tax compliance.

In order for a voluntary declaration to be complete, it must include all information that is relevant from a tax perspective from the past ten years and disclose this to the competent tax office. That is why it is important to carefully consider each individual case; there is no standard solution when it comes to voluntary disclosure. Those who nonetheless forego qualified assistance when preparing a voluntary declaration and attempt to do so on their own or with the help of standard templates are taking a substantial risk that the voluntary declaration is incomplete and will thus fail. Should it come to this, there is still the very real prospect of a conviction for tax evasion despite the voluntary declaration. The latter can then only have a mitigating effect similar to a confession.

To prevent this from happening, lawyers who are experienced in the field of tax law ought to be tasked with preparing the voluntary declaration. They are able to carry out a detailed assessment of each individual case and know what information and documents need to be included in the voluntary declaration for it to be capable of leading to immunity.

https://www.grprainer.com/en/legal-advice/tax-law/voluntary-disclosure.html

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