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Tax Treaty with Switzerland Failed

The only option for taxpayers at the moment is a voluntary self-disclosure for tax fraudunless the tax fraud is already time-barred.

The hopes of account holders in Switzerland for a practicable and quick, comprehensive solution have been shattered.  The so-called tax treaty between Switzerland and Germany has irrevocably failed. Interested parties may learn how the proposed tax treaty with Switzerland would have looked like.

Tax treaty failed: Voluntary self-disclosure or anonymous once-off payment

As published in the evening of 12.12.2012, the tax treaty between Germany and Switzerland has irrevocably failed in the common mediation committee of the Bundestag and Bundesrat. The current situation for taxpayers with undeclared funds or capital income in Swiss bank accounts therefore remains unchanged. Persons with untaxed capital income in a Swiss account, who have been detected by the tax investigator, must expect significant penalties for tax fraud and a search of premises.  

It must be assumed, that the tax investigative authorities will continue to purchase CD’s containing the details of tax evaders. The grapevine has it, that the tax investigators have purchased many more CD’s than the ones reported in the press. We therefore expect, that the fiscal administration will exert targeted pressure on the affected taxpayers by way of respective press releases. Some Swiss banks have also started to exert pressure on their clients to legalise their assets.  
The only option left for affected taxpayers is the difficult path of making a voluntary self-disclosure, which is still a safe option if experienced advisers are at hand. Following the rejection of the tax treaty with Switzerland by the mediation committee, a voluntary self-disclosure is the only way to avoid prosecution, provided that the voluntary self-disclosure is legally effective. Since the statutory regulations pertaining to voluntary self-disclosures have changed in 2011, the pitfalls provided for by the legislator must be avoided. Due to our long-standing experience and our daily practice in dealing with the associated problems, we are able to appraise our client’s legal situation and - as far as possible - submit a legally effective voluntary self-disclose, leading to an exemption from prosecution.

Tax treaty Switzerland

Latest developments concerning the tax treaty with Switzerland / treaty wordings

All (!) of the following conditions must be met to fall under the jurisdiction of this treaty:

The following options are available to settle past tax matters once the tax treaty comes into effect:

Guideline for tax advisers/tax attorneys in respect of the tax treaty with Switzerland: What is less expensive: a voluntary self-disclosure or the retrospective flat-rate tax?

As tax advisers and tax law specialists in Cologne, we offer:

LHP: Attorneys at Law, Tax Law Specialists, Tax Advisers PartmbB


Theodor-Heuss-Ring 14, 50668 Cologne,
Telephone: +49 221 39 09 770


Stockerstrasse 34, 8002 Zurich,
Telephone: +41 44 212 3535