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German State Rules Out Purchase Of Stolen Tax Data

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The German federal government and state of Baden-Württemberg are currently at loggerheads regarding the purchase of the stolen tax data disc from Switzerland, believed to contain the names of around 1,700 German tax evaders.

Although the data disc could serve to generate an additional EUR7m in tax revenue, neither the government nor the state are willing to purchase the disc, thought to cost in the region of EUR500,000.

In stark contrast to North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg’s state government in Stuttgart recently announced its decision not to purchase the tax data disc, arguing that to do so may well be unconstitutional. Any action taken by the state must respect the fundamental principle of legality, it emphasized.

Despite assurances from the government that the federal tax office in Bonn would step in to purchase the disc if the need arose, a spokesperson from the federal finance ministry nevertheless dismissed the idea, underlining the fact that the decision is very much the responsibility of the state concerned and the fact that the federal tax office has merely an advisory and coordinating role in such cases.