Surprise mail from the tax office – where did they get the information about my foreign account?

Today, the German tax office can access high-quality data on foreign accounts and systematically evaluate this data. The Federal Central Tax Office is currently evaluating 1.1 million messages from this data exchange.

We are currently experiencing the effects of implementing this data exchange.

After the first measures of data exchange on financial matters between European and non-European countries have already taken place in the past, the implementation of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) has led to a significant intensification of data exchange.

The data quality should be extremely meaningful, since the information is reported directly by the respective foreign financial institutions (- not only banks, but also investment companies or insurance companies report).


The Federal Central Tax Office is currently evaluating 1.1 million messages from this data exchange.

We are currently experiencing the effects of implementing this data exchange.

For the year 2016, Germany received data from 67 countries, and for 2020 110 countries will provide the Federal Central Tax Office with their data.

A list of the participating countries according to the Federal Central Tax Office can be found at the end of this article.

The tax authorities have already received more than 1.1 million notifications from this data exchange, which are currently being processed (according to PStR Praxis Steuerstrafrefrecht 28.09.2020, p. 241).


The persons concerned will receive mail from the German tax office

The persons who are taxable in Germany as a result of the notifications will now receive (or have already received) mail from their local tax offices.

They will be asked to provide information about the account held abroad. In this case, they should also regularly provide information on where the money invested abroad comes from.

Persons with an account abroad who are taxable in Germany should have a consultant check (as soon as possible) whether they are subject to German tax liability.


Background: 

What is reported?

  • Name, address and tax identification number
  • Date and place of birth
  • Tax residence
  • account number
  • Name and identification number of the reporting German financial institution
  • Account balance or value at the end of the relevant calendar year
  • For custody accounts, the total gross income of interest, dividends and other income earned on and credited to the assets in the account
  • For deposit accounts, the total gross yield of interest paid or credited to the account
  • For all other accounts, the total gross amount paid or credited to the account holder in respect of the account and for which the reporting German financial institution is the debtor. The total amount of all redemption amounts paid during the reporting period must be included
  • For custodian accounts, the total gross proceeds from the sale or repurchase of assets deposited or credited to the account and for which the financial institution acted as custodian, broker, agent or otherwise as representative for the account holder.

Time schedule for implementation of the Common Reporting Standard

According to the OECD list, Status of Commitments,
Status: 16.09.2020, the intended exchange of information should take place by September 2020 at the latest for the following countries:

Anguilla, Argentina, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turks and Caicos Islands, United Kingdom, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominica, Greenland, Grenada, Hong Kong (China), Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, Macao (China), Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Monaco, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Pakistan, Panama, Qatar, Russia, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sint Maarten, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Ghana, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Oman, Peru


Bundeszentralamt für Steuern,
Aktuelle Liste der teilnehmenden Staaten
Stand: 1. Juli 2020

Data exchange –
Our expert advises:

Rechtsanwalt
Fachanwalt für Steuerrecht
Geschäftsführer der ACCONSIS

Dr. Christopher Arendt

Selbstanzeigen
Steuerstrafverfahren
Internationales Steuerrecht

Service-Phone
+ 49 89 547143
or by e-mail c.arendt@acconsis.de

My recommendation in this case

An effective self-denunciation at the tax office leads to an obstacle to prosecution, i.e. one can no longer be punished for the tax evasion in question.

However, whether a self-denunciation is possible must be examined in detail in each individual case in view of the complex legal requirements.

Once the information has been provided, a voluntary disclosure will probably no longer have an exempting effect, i.e. from 01.01.2021. So one should use the time until the end of the year to get an overview and act quickly.

Before you do anything, please get in touch with me. Do not hesitate, I will be happy to assist you for an initial consultation.