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Hiring Under the Table Could Soon Be Criminal

Germans who hire cleaning women, carpenters or other handy workers off the books to work in their homes will have to shell out a fine of at least €1500 in future, if investigators catch on to the deal, German business daily Handelsblatt reported on Friday. Till now persons and companies merely committed an administrative offense if they paid a worker in hard cash to work for them. But in future every service paid for that isn’t registered with the tax office, will be treated as an economic crime and pursued closely by the authorities, the paper said quoting a legal blueprint by German Finance Minister Hans Eichel. Eichel is reported to want to use the revenue generated by the fines to plug massive holes in income tax and social security coffers. The government is hoping the new scheme will yield at least €1 billion yearly.