Bulgaria to Hunt for Tax Dodgers in Swiss Bank DatabaseViews on BG | March 11, 2010, Thursday // 11:31| views
A file photo shows the exterior view of the building of the HSBC Bank at the quai Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by EPA/BGNES
Rumyana Dencheva and Vesselin Zhelev
Tax authorities in Sofia are planning to look into the Swiss bank accounts of an unspecified number of Bulgarians whom they suspect of tax evasion, an official said.
Germany, which recently purchased from undisclosed sources the Swiss bank details of suspected tax dodgers, has tipped off Bulgarian fiscal authorities to Bulgarian names in the database, National Revenue Agency (NRA) chief Krasimir Stefanov told the daily, 24 Chasa. The amount is said to be worth around €200 million.
"Since there is information about Bulgarian deposits in Switzerland, the NRA will carry out inspections and audits for tax evasion about everyone whom we have information of," he said.
Mr Stefanov stopped short of naming or disclosing the number of the suspects. He said the amounts on their Swiss accounts would be compared to the wealth they have declared in Bulgaria and the taxes they have paid.
It was not clear whether Bulgaria has already received the information in question and whether it was going to pay for it. Mr Stefanov said his agency agreed to automatically provide the German tax authorities with data on the revenues of German nationals in Bulgaria.
Failure to declare one's income and tax evasion are punishable by up to six years in prison in Bulgaria. Voluntary admission of the offence may not result in a more lenient treatment.
In contrast to Germany, where a string of tax dodgers have recanted and paid their taxes in a bid to escape prosecution, there has been no such cases in Bulgaria yet.
Bulgaria, which is under EU pressure to eradicate corruption and organised crime, has officially asked Germany for information on for Bulgarian names in the tax evaders database it obtained from Switzerland.
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