Tax evasion

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tax evasion refers to the relocation of sources of income, place of business, domicile or place of residence to other countries or economic areas for tax reasons. Target countries are often so-called tax havens ( low-tax country ). The term tax evasion is used both for cases of illegal tax evasion and for legal, but by some regarded as morally questionable, tax avoidance . The term also functions as a political catchphrase .


In particular, income from capital is easy to relocate and is therefore often subject to tax evasion. Such a flight of capital is often not motivated (solely) for tax purposes, but also for other reasons, such as concerns about a devaluation of one's own currency.

Companies are relocated for tax reasons when competitiveness is impaired by the tax burden. Transnational corporations shift profits to subsidiaries (even if they are mailbox companies ) in countries with low tax rates. With regulations on additional taxation , transfer pricing, etc. similar high tax countries try to limit this.

According to German tax law

For the taxation of a person, German tax law is linked to their ( place of residence or company headquarters ) or, for natural persons, to their habitual residence and, for corporations, to the place of management. In contrast to the USA , the Federal Republic of Germany , with the exception of a few special cases, has no right to tax its citizens due to their nationality, regardless of their place of residence or habitual residence. If a natural person has a place of residence or habitual abode in Germany, then they are generally taxable in Germany with their entire global income ( unlimited tax liability ). In order to avoid or mitigate double taxation due to the simultaneous taxation rights of different countries, there are double taxation agreements .

A limited tax liability can also arise if a natural person does not have a domicile or habitual abode in a country, but earns income in this country, for example the house located and rented abroad; Dividends from foreign companies ( withholding tax ). Then it is taxable in the state in which the source of income is located (and only) with the source of income there, unless otherwise stated in a double taxation agreement.

Some countries try to make tax evasion more difficult by securing the right to tax (at least for a certain period of time) after a change of residence or place of business abroad, Germany for example through the Foreign Tax Act (AStG).


In 2012, a study by the Tax Justice Network, headed by James S. Henry , found that home states lost up to $ 280 billion in income taxes through tax evasion. Financial assets of $ 21 to $ 32 trillion are invested in tax havens . Other authors, such as B. Gabriel Zucman regard these numbers as unrealistic. He himself calculates a range of about 6-10 trillion dollars.

In the so-called offshore leak in April 2013, the media reported a data set with 130,000 names of people who are said to have invested their assets in tax havens .

Avoiding taxes is often associated with large corporations such as Google and Amazon, but is also practiced by so-called medium - sized companies . Numerous family businesses such as Liebherr or the Theo Müller Group have relocated their headquarters or even their place of residence abroad for tax reasons.

Tax evasion and development policy

In 2009, Luxembourg non-governmental organizations, which are largely funded by the Luxembourg government, published critical reports. The attempt was made to show the flow of money between tax havens and developing countries. After politicians reacted sharply, the reports were officially distanced.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Tax evasion  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Rich people have up to 32 trillion dollars in tax havens .
  2. ^ Gabriel Zucman: La richesse cachée des nations: enquête sur les paradis fiscaux. Seuil: La République des idées. Paris 2013, ISBN 9782021114317 .
  3. Süddeutsche Zeitung : Sueddeutsche: Secret business in tax havens exposed from April 4, 2013.
  4. - ( Memento of November 1, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), .