More than 300 Italian restaurants in Germany reportedly used manipulated cash registers to avoid taxes.

The German Tax Office for Investigation and Criminal Matters (Finanzamt für Fahndung und Strafsachen) and the Italian Finance Corps (Guardia di Finanza), supported by Europol, dismantled an organised crime group involved in VAT fraud through the manipulation of cash registers. 

The joint operation targeted a criminal network selling software solutions for cash registers enabling businesses to manipulate their daily sales records. 

Restaurants and other cash-intensive enterprises were able to alter their income and reduce their output VAT and corporate tax liability by using these “tuned” registers. 

This IT solution enabled the businesses to access the database of the cash register securely and decide how much of their daily income to hide and how much to declare to the tax authorities. More than 300 owners of Italian restaurants across Germany have allegedly bought this solution, which is priced significantly higher than an ordinary cash register that cannot manipulate financial records. 

The action day on 21 September 2021 led to:

  • 93 house searches
  • 23 individuals facing criminal proceedings
  • Seizure of cash registers, a server and €275 000 in cash 

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