The English language version is created automatically. The text may therefore contain linguistic and terminological errors.

Rolf Benz

Verena Grossmann

Tax procedure and criminal tax law


Workshop on the occasion of the ISIS) seminar on 2/3 March 2020 entitled "Corporate Tax Law 2020".

The complete PDF of the seminar folder can be downloaded for CHF
The corresponding case solutions can be purchased for CHF
(introductory price)
can be purchased in the shop.
The workshops are also available individually in the "Documents" section.
The case solutions and other documents can be obtained free of charge in the shop.

1. tax evasion through failure to submit a tax return

1.1 Facts of the case

Antoine Maître is married and lives in Lausanne. He has been working as an independent lawyer in Geneva since 2010.

The Maître and his wife submitted their 2010-2014 tax returns to the canton of Vaud within the deadline. The Vaud tax authorities assessed the spouses and made an intercantonal tax assessment in which the husband's profits from self-employment were transferred to the canton of Geneva or taxed only at the rate applicable in the canton of Vaud. The canton of Vaud sent copies of the assessment notices to the Geneva tax authorities. The tax procedure in the canton of Vaud was therefore correct in every respect as follows:

rolf benz verena grossmann zsis taxes isis seminar tax company taxes tax evasion tax return

It was not until 2015 that the Geneva tax administration started to collect the 2010-2013 taxes due to the limited tax liability. In April 2015, the spouses responded immediately to the Geneva tax authorities' request to submit their 2010-2013 tax returns.

The Geneva tax administration assessed the (undisputed) taxes and imposed fines on Antoine Maître for attempted tax evasion (amounting to 1/3 of the evaded tax).

rolf benz verena grossmann zsis taxes isis seminar tax company taxes tax evasion tax return

Antoine Maître objected to the fines, claiming that the Vaud tax authorities had assured him that they had sent him a copy of the Geneva tax authorities for each tax year. The Administrative Court of the Canton of Geneva overturned the fine order in a ruling of 15 May 2018, after which the Geneva tax authorities brought the matter before the Federal Court.

1.2 Questions

1.2.1 Appeal to the Federal Supreme Court

What is the appeal to the Federal Supreme Court called? What can be appealed against (admissible grounds of appeal)?

1.2.2 Taxation of married couples

Who has limited tax liability in Geneva? Antonine Maître or also his wife ?

1.2.3 Tax return obligation

Do the spouses violate a procedural obligation (obligation to file a tax return) or is filing a tax return at the secondary tax domicile unnecessary?

1.2.4 Statute of limitations on investments

Can the Canton of Geneva still assess taxes for the 2010-2013 fiscal years in an open procedure?

1.2.5 Tax offences

Is Antoine's conduct relevant under criminal tax law with regard to (a) completed tax evasion, (b) attempted tax evasion, (c) tax fraud and/or (d) breach of procedural obligations?

1.2.6 Criminal liability of the wife

Did the wife Elonie commit a crime?

1.2.7 Entry in criminal records

Does Antoine Maître expect to be entered in the criminal record?

1.2.8 After tax

What would have changed if the Geneva tax administration had not even become active until 2016?

2. (unpunished) voluntary disclosure of AIA accounts

2.1 The facts of the case

Pia Pfister is an independent owner of a restaurant. For 20 years she has had an account with the Deutsche Bank with 2 million Euros, which she has so far "forgotten" to declare in her tax returns. Pia Pfister has been legally assessed until and including the tax period 2018. Mrs. Pfister would like to buy a house with this money and therefore make a clean sweep.

2.2 Questions

2.2.1 Own drive

Does a valid voluntary declaration require the voluntary participation of the obligated persons? Does the motive play a role in the validity of the voluntary disclosure?

2.2.2 Influence AIA

What influence will the entry into force of the AIAG on 1 January 2017 have on self-denunciations concerning an account in an AIA state?

2.2.3 Consequences

What are the consequences for Pia Pfister, if a valid non-punishable voluntary disclosure

  • is affirmed?
  • is denied?

3. non-declaration of works of art

3.1 Facts of the case

Since 2005, Peter Pan has owned three inherited paintings with a current market value totalling CHF 5 million. Over the last 15 years, he has declared a total of CHF 100,000 for each of these paintings in his tax returns.

His wife Petra Pan, who has been separated from him since the summer of 2019, reports this fact to the tax authorities in early 2020 and encloses with her letter documents from the insurance company stating that the paintings were insured for 4 million Euros 12 years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Pan's tax assessment is legally binding up to and including 2018.

3.2 Questions

3.2.1 After-tax procedure

Can an after-tax procedure be carried out? Against whom? For which tax periods? Who is liable for any subsequent taxes?

3.2.2 Self-disclosure

Can Peter Pan successfully assert that, since he is still married to Petra, there is an unpunished voluntary disclosure?

3.2.3 Evasion procedures

Can an evasion procedure be carried out?

3.2.4 Involved persons

Against whom are possible evasion proceedings opened? Who is liable for any fines?

4. child wages

4.1 Facts of the case

Panzer AG has been legally assessed for the 2016 tax period, as has Paul Panzer, its widowed sole shareholder and director.

It subsequently emerged that Panzer AG's profit had been under-declared by CHF 50,000 because the tax advisor Sigi Süsswind had advised his client Paul Panzer to reduce the AG's profit, which had been exceptionally high in 2016, by "paying" his two 10- and 12-year-old children a salary of CHF 25,000 each or by making a corresponding entry. Paul Panzer accepted this advice, which is why Sigi Süsswind made the corresponding entry and submitted the tax returns of Panzer AG and Paul Panzer.

No tax returns were filed for the children; Paul received the sum of CHF 50,000 in cash.

4.2 Questions

4.2.1 Panzer AG

What consequences does Panzer AG have to expect?

4.2.2 Paul Panzer

What consequences does the taxpayer Paul Panzer have to expect? Please explain all types of tax and (tax) offences concerned.

4.2.3 Variant: self-employment

What would be different if Paul Panzer were self-employed?

4.2.4 Tax consultant Sigi Süsswind

What consequences does the tax consultant Süsswind have to reckon with?

4.2.5 Ability of a tax bus to be passed on

Can Paul Panzer pass a possible fine for tax evasion on to his advisor Süsswind? If so, for what reason? If not, why not?


Please change your browser!

Microsoft Internet Explorer uses outdated web standards and is no longer supported by our platform. For an optimal display of the zsis) we recommend that you use one of the following browsers.
For more information about the outdated technology of Internet Explorer and the resulting risks, please visit the blog of Chris Jackson (Principal Program Manager at Microsoft).