Tax criminal law
Defence in criminal tax matters requires special expertise. Criminal tax law is one of the core areas of commercial criminal law.
Criminal tax law is extremely complex and permeates all areas of life, in particular economic and entrepreneurial activities. Every false statement regarding tax matters towards the tax authorities involves the risk of criminal charges. Often these charges are made subsequent to tax audits or they result from control reports of the tax authorities.
If criminal tax proceedings are opened, the rights of the defendant conflict with their tax obligations. We protect your criminal procedural rights – without losing track of your tax obligations. Of particular importance is the advice on voluntary declaration to avoid punishment: if this declaration is incorrect or incomplete, the taxable person faces serious disadvantages.
Criminal tax law is often teamwork. We closely cooperate with tax accountants and auditors to clarify and establish the correct tax. The loss assessment of the tax authorities is often unsubstantiated and exaggerated. We analyse and question the allegations.
Penalties for tax offences have been tightened over the course of recent years. Not least against the backdrop of prominent examples, public awareness that these cases are not trivial has increased.
Investigation in tax offences can easily become an existential threat. The spectrum of criminal tax law matters is relatively broad. It ranges from minor offences within the private sphere (for example: tax deductibility of a study in private homes) to highly organized business models with the sole purpose to evade taxes. This particularly includes Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) fraud, which can cause fiscal damage in the millions.
Tax evasion pursuant to sect. 370 Fiscal Code
(1) A penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment or a monetary fine shall be imposed on any person who
1. furnishes the revenue authorities or other authorities with incorrect or incomplete particulars concerning matters that are relevant for tax purposes
2. fails to inform the revenue authorities of facts that are relevant for tax purposes when obliged to do so or
Incorrect or incomplete statements towards the relevant tax authorities are punishable as well as failing to inform tax authorities when obliged to do so. This is immediately understandable: a person who fails to inform the tax authorities about their income is as punishable as a person who under-declares their income.
False statement of tax relevant information
Understatement of tax
Special case: VAT fraud
Company tax evasion
Non-declaration of income from capital
Voluntary disclosure: Section 371 Fiscal Code
Section 371 par. 2 Fiscal Code, on the other hand – a most complex provision – states in which cases exemption from punishment shall not apply. This is the case if the offence has already been detected or if investigations or prosecutions by the tax authorities have been opened. We are unable to discuss this issue in any further detail here.
Pursuant to section 371 par. 3 Fiscal Code the voluntary disclosure also requires the settlement of tax liabilities in general.
Penalties for tax evasion
In this regard, the principle decision by the First Penal Chamber of the Federal High Court from 2 December 2008, 1 StR 416/08 must be mentioned. It states that in the event that the tax evasion amount exceeds €100,000, monetary penalties can no longer be considered and that imprisonment (on probation) is possible. For tax evasion that amounts to or exceeds €1 million imprisonment on probation can no longer be considered; this offence attracts imprisonment enforceable.
Particularly serious cases of tax evasion
- large scale
- abuse of the authority or position as a public official
soliciting the assistance of a public official
- using falsified or forged documents
- being a member of group formed for the purpose of repeatedly committing tax evasion offences
Underpaid or evaded taxes or tax advantages on a large scale are those that amount to or exceed €50,000.
We are criminal lawyers
Criminal tax law offers special defense opportunities. We analyse the charges brought against you and develop solutions for your case. For this purpose, we can draw on decades-long specialized experiences, which allows us to achieve the optimal outcome. Of course we pay particular attention to various possibilities of proceedings being dismissed according to the Code of Criminal Procedure.