How rich people actually avoid jail

The Truth About Tax Fraud In Germany - Are The Little People Really More Honest Than The Rich?

This net was only for the big fish: for the super-rich and large corporations operating around the world. The so-called "Paradise Papers" reveal a system of dubious tax tricks.

A network of mailbox companies in tax havens like Bermuda or the Isle of Man, with the help of which billions were collected by the state worldwide - often quite legally. Also in the German tax authorities. Tax avoidance on a grand scale!

But do the "big fish" really cause more damage than the millions of tax evasion, illegal work and cigarette smuggling of ordinary people? Are the big ones worse than the little ones? BILD has the facts!

The EU Commission estimates that one trillion euros go through the public purse in Europe every year through tax avoidance!

Germany loses around 160 billion a year through the tricks of highly specialized law firms on behalf of corporations and billionaires. Mostly LEGAL.

But: around 45 billion euros in damage a year is also caused by illegal tax evasion in Germany, estimates the shadow economy expert, Prof. Friedrich Schneider.

Almost half of this, up to 20 billion euros, can be traced back to "everyday" tax evasion, so-called "ant crime", according to Schneider: the illegally employed cleaning lady, the birthday party declared as a business lunch or false information about the commuter allowance.

The German Tax Union estimates the damage caused by “small tax cheats” at more than 40 billion euros.

“This is often based on the same greed, the same selfish motives for simply wanting to save,” says Thomas Eigenhaler, head of the German Tax Union. "The feeling is: if those up there allow themselves that, then I'll allow myself that too."

In fact: The damage caused by black income from taxi drivers, restaurateurs, etc .: around 10 billion per year. The damage caused by undeclared work on Germany's construction sites: more than 400 million euros. And the purchase of illegal cigarettes costs the Federal Minister of Finance around a billion, according to the accounting firm KPMG!

And does the state let the big ones go rather than the small tax evaders?

"Paradise Papers" Prominent Cases

The “Paradise Papers”: 13.4 million documents from tax havens. Fully prominent names:

► Queen Elizabeth II. (91): More than eleven million euros should be invested for her in funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

► Wilbur Ross (79): Trump's trade minister is said to be involved on a large scale in a shipping company that does business with Kremlin confidants via a complicated network of companies.

► Bono (57): The socially committed singer of the rock band U2 is said to have invested parts of his fortune in Malta and the British island of Guernsey.

► Engelhorn family: The daughters of the late pharmaceutical entrepreneur Curt Engelhorn had to pay 145 million taxes in arrears, and now dubious new businesses have appeared in tax havens.

No! Basically, the higher the amount evaded, the higher the penalty. In 2015, the laws were tightened: There is no longer any impunity above 25,000 euros! From a sum of 50,000 euros, there is a risk of jail, from 100,000 euros up to ten years in prison.

In fact, in 2015 the tax offices processed more than 83,000 criminal cases for tax evasion. The result: 45 million euros in fines and imprisonment for a total of 1728 years.

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