Prof. Dr. Gunter M. Hoffmann Hintergrund Prof. Dr. Gunter M. Hoffmann Hintergrund Prof. Dr. Gunter M. Hoffmann Hintergrund Prof. Dr. Gunter M. Hoffmann Hintergrund

Penal tax law

Prof. Dr. Hoffmann

According to the German tax authorities, Germany is home to 83 million potential tax evaders. Privately, even senior financial officials admit that the German taxation law has become so complex that it can no longer be regarded as being just or understandable.

As a result, companies and private individuals live under the constant threat of at least negligently evading tax. Yet at the same time, German legislation continues to increase the legal pressure on tax evaders. Since the Zumwinkel ruling of the Federal Supreme Court, tax evaders face imprisonment without eligibility for parole from an evasion amount of Euro 1 million onwards. This amount can easily be attained by Managing Directors or Members of the Boards of companies, as also tax evasion in favor of the managed company is a punishable offence.

The reality shows that tax offices, tax investigations and public prosecutors tend to rely on the (supposed) correctness of the work of other authorities and, in order to reduce their workload, do not instigate their own investigations. As a result, a one-off investigation error can continuously produce further errors, landing the accused in the most absurd procedural situations. This can be further aggravated by the often sloppy approach by the authorities. In our work we have come across numerous examples of errors by officials, starting from not taking into consideration over 100 pages of statements, distorting witness statements, clear erroneous assessments of documents, the deliberate curtailment of the rights of the accused up to the incompetence and crude methods used by the investigators and their teams – such as in the area of illegal employment – often made up of untrained former boarder guards (customs). In these cases justice can only be obtained for the client by his attorney´s own investigation measures.

Where, however, preliminary proceedings are instigated or where these are imminent, we quickly and competently support our client in making a voluntary declaration.