Tax CDs Big Business For Germany


According to recent estimates from the German tax union DSTG, the purchase of several stolen tax data discs, containing information on alleged tax evaders in Germany, has served to generate in the region of EUR2bn in back payments for the state, and has clearly become big business for the country’s tax authorities.

Indeed, Chairman of the DSTG, Dieter Ondracek, has confirmed that data records currently being examined will lead to around 3,000 investigations being launched, generating an estimated EUR500m. The existence of such files has also reportedly resulted in around 25,000 voluntary self-declarations and in back payments of an additional EUR1.5bn.

Although the German state of Hesse recently announced its decision not to purchase tax data records, other federal states in Germany have done so. Tax authorities in Schleswig-Holstein for example are currently examining a tax data disc, allegedly containing information on around a hundred German clients suspected of having evaded taxes through accounts with Liechtenstein Landesbank (LLB), amounting to an estimated EUR500m. While it is believed that the authorities in Kiel intend to purchase the disc following sample analysis of the data, a final decision has not as yet been made, and there is clear opposition from the state government’s Free Democratic Party (FDP).

Emphasizing the fact that it is the duty of the state to pursue any evidence of tax evasion, Ondracek has called for a legal provision to be put in place to lawfully permit the future purchase of such data by the authorities. A clear signal must be given, Ondracek maintained, to make clear that the government is prepared to pay for such valuable information.

Warning of current staff shortages, Ondracek emphasized that 1,000 additional tax investigators are needed. Given that the tax data discs must be examined in a timely manner, and as a matter or priority, other standard duties are not being fulfilled, he explained.

The DSTG claims that every year, EUR30bn in revenue is lost as a result of tax evasion.