Threat of hacker-obtained tax information yields $137m revenue
This week, the German Tax Authorities opened cases on 1,100 suspected tax evaders thanks to information purchased from a “hacker”. As reported on BusinessWeek and other sites, the hacker offered a CD of information of German nationals with “secret” Swiss bank accounts managed by Credit Suisse to the German authorities, who quickly snapped it up, apparently for the price of 2.5 million euros.
Reports indicate that around 400 million euros of unpaid taxes could be reclaimed.
With all the press on this matter, German citizens with unpaid taxes rushed to make amends, hoping perhaps to skip jail time by their voulentary confessions. Patric Donahue reported:
Germany stands to gain at least 100 million euros ($137 million) in tax revenue as more than 10,000 people rushed to declare their income in the six weeks since the government said it would buy stolen data on Swiss bank accounts.
The wave of voluntary tax declarations, which began even before authorities said they bought the data, climbed to 10,051 as of today, according to a survey of finance authorities in Germany’s 16 states.
Interestingly more than one journalist and commentator on this matter has asked the question – “does the CD really even exist?” Think about it – over 10,000 people are paying their back-taxes in advance of any legal action against them on the threat that their identities may be in this mythical data set?
Would you take a chance on it?