German tax crackdown may net 1.8 billion euros - report

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s crackdown on tax evaders through its acquisition of stolen data on bank accounts in Liechtenstein and Switzerland could rake in some 1.8 billion (1 billion pounds) euros for public coffers, a German magazine wrote on Saturday.

German tax authorities reported a surge in the number of tax dodgers turning themselves in after the federal and regional German governments decided to buy bank data from whistleblowers.

Under German laws, taxpayers who report undeclared income themselves and pay back tax plus interest owed before authorities launch an investigation can avoid prosecution.

“Some 1.6 billion euros ($2.13 billion) of back payments will be recovered this year, and another 200 billion next year,” weekly Der Spiegel wrote, noting that Germany could expect increased tax revenues also in the years to come.

“Tax payers cannot immediately hide their interest revenues once again in the years to come. The tax CDs only cost the state a few million euros,” Spiegel added.

In the past year, Germany, along with Italy, the United States and France, has waged a campaign to stamp out tax evasion.

Germany’s cabinet earlier this month agreed to tighten rules on tax dodgers who seek to obtain an amnesty by owning up to past transgressions.

The draft law, which is headed to parliament, would require those applying for amnesty from penalties to reveal their untaxed wealth in its entirety, and not just data relating to specific banks or countries.

Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by John Stonestreet