Criminal Tax Law
Dr. Markus Gotzens
Prof. Dr. Andreas Grötsch
The number of criminal tax investigative proceedings is increasing every year.
This certainly has less to do with the increase in criminality and more to do with the stricter laws, the continuous growth of the public bodies, the increasingly improved national and international investigative options and a tangibly lower inhibition threshold in financial management. The authorities are equipped with a massive instrument of power which they actively utilise. They are backed by legislators and the courts. The politically and medially propagated zeitgeist also has an impact: Tax offences are often presented as serious crimes.
On occasion, the criminal justice system overshoots its goal, regardless of whether the allegations are justified. Those who get caught in the wheels of justice often face a superior force that can result in tilting at windmills without professional support.
Those who are active on the financial market or are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time can be caught up in a criminal tax case, either as a suspect or a witness. The affected party then has to act. He should obtain competent advice. The earlier this happens, the more efficiently the consultant can act and utilise room for manoeuvring.
Founded speciality knowledge in material and procedural criminal tax law is equally indispensable for the defence in criminal tax cases as experience, negotiation skills and tact when working with authorities and courts. This applies equally to all areas of tax law because a criminal tax case usually runs on two tracks: In addition to criminal sanctions, tax assessments are also relevant. Two procedurally independent procedures take place that do not only run parallel to each other, they also overlap. Often, these interfaces are crucial for the success of the defence:
The → tax dispute proceedings can significantly impact the criminal proceedings and vice versa!
Therefore, our attorneys, who are specialised in criminal tax law, possess expertise in both areas. They know when which procedural chess moves and which material arguments can be expediently utilised as tactical tools in criminal and/or tax-related assessment procedures. They always cooperate with the respective client’s tax consultants to develop the ideal strategy and closely coordinate all of the necessary actions.
With our consultants and defence attorneys for criminal tax matters, we cover the entire spectrum. We work nationally and internationally for private persons, businesspersons and companies in all areas of criminal tax law and administrative tax offences and in tax compliance:
- Often, there is an opportunity or occasion to stay one step ahead of the criminal justice system. We examine tax structures for criminal risks, provide preventive consultation, e.g. in the event of pending or ongoing company audits, determine whether correction notices in accordance with Sec. 153 of the AO (German Tax Code) are required or, if necessary, issue a voluntary self-disclosure to avoid punishment.
- If criminal tax proceedings cannot be avoided or they have already been initiated, the focus of our defence is on the preliminary proceedings. The objective of this is to avoid court proceedings if this can be reconciled with our client’s interests. Depending on the concrete facts of the case, how the authorities act and the individual objective of our client, we either defend constructively with the objective of coming to a settlement or destructively/combatively. We do not settle for lazy compromises. Our focus is on an ideal result, both with respect to criminal law and taxes. Ideally, we will be engaged as early as possible in the preliminary proceedings, often even in the framework of the search measures. In that case, we deal with tax investigations, fine and criminal case appointment from the tax offices and, potentially, the public prosecutor. In larger proceedings with several defendants, we coordinate with external defence attorneys if possible and sensible. If criminal enforcement measures such as searches, seizures, arrest warrants, etc. prove to be illegal, we will file an appeal, with the Federal Constitutional Court, if necessary, after exhausting all legal remedies.
- If it comes to criminal interlocutory or primary proceedings, we provide defence in all trial and appeals proceedings, from the district court to the Federal Supreme Court.
The following applies to all stages of the proceedings: Defence in criminal cases requires keeping the big picture in mind. As fundamental as the tax and criminal aspects of a case are, the potential ancillary and repercussions of the criminal proceedings in other legal fields also have to be kept in mind at all times. The range of potential repercussions of criminal proceedings under occupational and administrative law is wide and cannot be conclusively discussed here. Examples of processional consequences that tax consultants, financial auditors, officials, physicians, architects, pilots and businesspersons might face should be noted. Safety-related permits (arms possession card, hunting certificate, pilot’s license, etc.) also have to be taken into account as does the field of tax liability, company fines, travel restrictions, residential and work permits, etc.
Our criminal tax law experts value highly customised support. The highest level of discretion when dealing with this sensitive material is a matter of course. We do not run a bulk business and are a reliable partner, standing by our clients, if necessary, around the clock, every day of the week, anywhere.
We are located in Munich, but we are active on a national level. In Germany, we regularly work with our clients’ tax consultants. When resolving cross-border cases, we cooperate with renowned attorneys abroad.
Administrative office hours
Monday to Thursday: 8AM – 6PM
Friday: 8AM – 5PM
In urgent cases, such as searches or arrests:
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