No Hiding Place

How are the mighty fallen. Uli Hoeness, hero of Germany’s 1974 World Cup winning team, and president of Bayern Munich has been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for tax fraud.

Hoeness, had admitted hiding large sums in a Swiss bank under a “voluntary disclosure” scheme, hoping to avoid trial by paying the taxes owed plus a 6% interest. This is far more generous than the US tax evasion amnesties of 2009 and 2011, with fines being a substantial percentage of the total capital, not just the tax owed. Of course, any one going down this route must declare everything. Further revelations showed that Hoeness had been dishonest when disclosing the scale of his assets, hence the court case.

Subsequently 26,000 German tax evaders have opted for voluntary disclosure. If a national icon can be taken out, then no one is safe.

All around the world governments are tracking down tax evaders with a vengeance. No one is safe from the tax police. Once you are in their crosshairs there is no escape. In the age of computerization it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. One way or another, they will find out the scale of any individual’s tax evasion. As we are saying in The Flight of the Golden Geese, the days of tax evasion are over. The only legal way for the rich to protect their wealth from their country’s tax grab is to give up their citizenship, and leave for friendlier jurisdictions.

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