Sunday, September 19

The German Greens want citizens to report on other citizens who evade taxes


Correspondent in Berlin

Updated:

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The Regional Minister of Finance of Baden-Württemberg, the green Danyal Bayaz, has become famous throughout Germany for its tax pillory, an “anonymous whistleblower portal for tax offices” where acquaintances, neighbors, colleagues or relatives can report suspected evasion under anonymity and thus lead to the initiation of an investigation. “Citizens can use it to report violations of criminal and tax laws safely and anonymously,” justified Minister Bayaz, who wants to “break inhibitions” and encourages citizens to help ensure the ” tax justice ”. Unsurprisingly, the initiative has garnered the harshest criticism, most of which They recalled similar reporting portals of the defunct GDR, Communist Germany. But it was not considered more than a local streak until the candidate for the Chancellery of the Greens in the generals of September 26, Annalena Baerbock, has supported this fiscal pillory and has introduced it in her own electoral campaign.

“We have to create places where it is also possible to report when it is known that there is a tax fraud or any other type of crime,” he said last night on the ‘Bundestag Election Program’ on the ProSieben television network. “That is now what will be done in Baden-Württemberg and it would actually be necessary at the federal level,” said Baerbock, “the next federal government should also introduce this measure.” Baerbock defended the ‘concern of the whole EU for taking coherent action against tax fraud and money laundering ”. Germany has a “big problem with this,” he insisted.

From various German party. The reaction has been immediate. “Digitally, the inhibition threshold for reporting others is significantly lower,” warns the vice president of the FDP Liberals, Wolfgang Kubicki. The regional president of the Baden-Württemberg FDP, Michael Theurer, believes that “this kind of block guardian mentality changes our society for the worse.” Also the general secretary of the Bavarian Social Christians (CSU), Markus Blume, has tweeted that The Greens want to promote the denunciation and sow mistrust among neighbors, while the chairman of the conservative CDU / CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Thorsten Frei, has warned against a possible coalition of the SPD Social Democrats, The Greens and The Left. “It already shows where the journey with the responsibility of the red-green-red government would lead. With communism and the experience of the Stasi of many ex-SED cadres that still exist, the Left Party would then become a turbocharger of denunciations. “It does not matter if it is on the left or on the right, denouncing the neighbors has no place in Germany, for that we have prosecutors and an efficient justice system.”

The German Finance Ministry is not exactly characterized by its lack of zeal in prosecuting fraud. It has repeatedly paid employees of foreign banks to obtain bank details for accounts that could be evading German taxes and, last February, paid an “anonymous source” the amount of two million euros for a CDU containing the data. of “millions of people” with bank accounts and assets in Dubai. An official statement confirmed that the data contained information “on millions of taxpayers around the world, including several thousand Germans” and that the job of tax inspectors would be to contrast these data with those of the Ministry to detect undeclared income or unknown assets. .

“We use all the means at our disposal to detect tax offenses,” justified the Minister of Finance and today a Social Democratic candidate for the Berlin Chancellery, Olaf Scholz, which also guaranteed that the data relating to foreign taxpayers will be “delivered to the countries to which they concern.” “But now we are not talking about investors with accounts in tax havens, but about working housewives who use support at home without paying social security or about people who earn an additional income by selling jams in the markets on the weekend »Criticizes the opposition in Baden-Württemberg.

Until now, the regional tax administration received anonymous reports by phone, in writing or in person, but according to the regional Ministry of Finance essential information was often missing and the necessary inquiries were not possible due to anonymity. The new platform is prepared to change that, because it is “digital, secure, and yet anonymous,” Bayaz boasts.

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