Close

Forgot your password?

Choose a newsletter




Premium access provided by ENSTA

Your premium access provided by ENSTA

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by NRC Q

You been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to NRC Q.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by EM-LYON

You been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to EM-LYON.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Goldsmiths

You been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 8 weeks thanks to Goldsmiths.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by WorldCrunch HQ

You been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 4 weeks thanks to WorldCrunch HQ.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by MinnPost

You been given free premium access to Worldcrunch for 6 months thanks to MinnPost.

Enter your email to begin

Premium access granted to you by Expatica

You've been given FREE premium access to Worldcrunch

Enter your email to begin

Worldcrunch

German Tax Protester Won’t Pay Up If His Money Goes To Greece

German tax advisor Markus Zwicklbauer has stopped paying his taxes. Fiscal authorities can have his money, he says, provided they prove it’s being used for the common good of German citizens – and not “wasted” abroad.

Article illustrative image Partner logo Greek Prime Minister Papandreou and German Chancellor Merkel

MUNICH – When it comes to tax matters, Germans aren’t big on active resistance. They complain, they grumble, they rant about high taxes. Some find legal or semi-legal ways to avoid paying them. Others secretly evade tax payments. But it’s pretty rare indeed for somebody to draw a line in the sand and simply refuse to pay: the Germans just aren’t a nation of active fiscal protesters or tax strikers.

Not so Markus Zwicklbauer. For 30 years the 58-year-old resident of Fürstenzell bei Passau has not only been a tax advisor but also a model of probity as far as paying his own taxes goes. That’s no longer the case. Except instead of creating a foundation in Liechtenstein to quietly hide his money from German fiscal authorities, Zwicklbauer is making his refusal very public indeed.

He’s on strike, and he wants everybody to know it, writing the authorities a letter explaining his position. As he told one local paper: "It is just not admissible that our tax money is used to pay for the inefficiency of Greece and other EU countries."

And so Greek and other euro-zone debt has turned Zwicklbauer into a tax protester. What he has decided to do is pay the tax money he owes into an escrow account. And, he says, tax authorities are welcome to it if "it can be proven that the money will be used in Germany for the common good of its citizens and not wasted abroad."

German fiscal authorities seldom have to deal with unusual cases like this. There are a few oddballs here and there who claim there is no proof of the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany and hence no entity to pay taxes to. (Who is Mrs. Merkel, then? How come there are streets, teachers – not to mention fiscal authorities who go after the holders of this bizarre belief?)

Berlusconi and Wesley Snipes

As irony would have it, tax strikes are not at all unheard of in Greece – the very country that Markus Zwicklbauer doesn’t want his hard-earned money going to. According to a poll there, 43% of small business owners are thinking of launching tax strikes as a mean of protesting government austerity measures. And in Italy, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has hinted that he considers refusal to pay taxes morally legitimate under certain conditions.

In the United States, the phenomenon is relatively widespread, including an entire anti-tax movement comprised of those who believe that the state quite simply doesn’t have the right to take money from individual citizens to finance schools, hospitals or streets that are shared by all.

One of the movement’s best-known members is actor Wesley Snipes, who is currently serving jail time because he refused to pay millions in back taxes. Out of principle. Like hundreds of thousands of other Americans, he based his argument on an obscure paragraph in American tax law. But his refusal got him nowhere. Except into trouble.

Trouble is where Markus Zwicklbauer is doubtlessly heading --  with fiscal authorities sending him reminders to pay up, and warnings that if he doesn’t, the law will come knocking.

Read the original article in German

Photo - ???????????? ??? ???????

Sign up for our weekly Global Biz & Innovation newsletter now


Worldcrunch brings top stories from the world's best news sources into English for the first time.

- Find out how we work
- Stay connected with our newsletter
- Try premium access for just $0.99

Want to get in touch or report a bug? Find us at info@worldcrunch.com

Load More Stories

Unlimited access to exclusive journalism, the best world news source across all your devices

Subscribe Now Photo of Worldcrunch on different devices

Your premium access to Worldcrunch is provided by

University of Central Lancashire

Please register to begin


By registering you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.