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Regulating the Institute of Tax Secret in German Law

Nikola Mijatović ; Pravni fakultet Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 543 Kb

str. 71-93

preuzimanja: 615



In addition to the institute of protection of official secret, in procedural regulations pertaining to taxes German law provides, as a lex specialis, for the protection of the institute of tax secret as a so-called qualified official secret. The importance given to this institute in German law is evident in the fact that it has a constitutional origin - it is based on the constitutionally protected personal right and the right to informational self-determination. The purpose of this institute is not only to protect taxpayers, but also the interests of financial authorities. It is a correlation of sorts: a taxpayer is ready to provide information necessary for the taxation procedure if he or she is certain that the information will not be publicized.
The obligation to keep a tax secret applies to a broad range of civil servants, but also to a specific group of persons who are not in civil service, but are employed by the authorities or carry out tasks at their request. The broad inclusion of bearers of a tax secret also guarantees a broad protection of other (tax relevant) circumstances and conditions, i.e. business secrets. It pertains both to the prohibition of publicizing confidential information and to protected use of such information. However, in spite of the high level of legal protection provided for the institute of tax secret, which is evident in the possibility of criminal prosecution of persons who disclose a tax secret, legislation allows for the possibility of publicizing tax secrets under certain circumstances. These mostly pertain to clearly specified situations, with the possible exception of publication in the case of protection of “forced public interests”. It is a relatively abstract concept the application of which can in some cases cause doubt and extensive interpretation to the detriment of the taxpayer. In all the other segments the institute of tax secret indicates a high level of structure, normative specification and clarity in application.

Ključne riječi

tax secret, authorized persons, violation of a tax secret, lawful publication, sanctions

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