Friday, June 6, 2014

A Tax Story

It's not what I'd call a page one story in Germany, but it has turns and twists which are starting to pick up.

So, there's this journalist-writer-commentator of women's issues....Alice Schwarzer.  Alice has been around in the public arena for four decades and been a regular on German TV forums....commenting on mostly women's issues.

If you picked a hundred well known characters of the German public....Alice would be on that list.  Alice is seventy-one years old and still can debate when it matters.

Well....Alice back in the into some cash revenue episode outside of Germany, and decided to park the money in Switzerland.....turning some profits....but never reporting to the German tax authorities.  Yeah, it was stupid, but everyone did it and never got caught.

Well...Alice got noticed last year, and back in February.....the tax guys were onto her stash of money...which triggered Alice to admit things and paid 200,000 Euro to settle up.

Most folks thought that was it.  Well.....NO.  The tax guys came back this week to her apartment and did a search warrant.  They must suspect that Alice has more stashes of money around, and what she admitted earlier in the year.....wasn't the complete story.

The way that the German tax system works.....once they get onto your situation....they really don't give up.  Even when they think they might have squeezed everything possible.....they will simply bring in fresh people to keep reviewing your case and asking more questions.  It's possible that they could spend a couple thousand man-hours a year....just on one person.....asking the same questions over and over....digging into your financial background and hoping that you screwed up somewhere and eventually admit millions more income hidden away.

All of this has kinda triggered Alice to avoid public forums and offer commentary.  My guess is that she's pretty tired of the whole thing, but unless the tax guys think you've been totally honest......there's no real escape.

The German tax guys even more vicious than the American IRS folks?  Germans try awful hard to hide income and profits.....probably more so than the typical American.  So the German tax folks are a bit more dedicated (my humble opinion) than the IRS folks.  In Alice's case.....if I were her....I'd think long and hard about taking what capital I have and heading off to quietly enjoy my remaining years without some tax idiot searching my apartment on a regular basis.

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