Germany has purchased data from an anonymous source in Dubai on millions of taxpayers worldwide in a bid to crack down on tax evasion, the finance ministry said Wednesday.

The data provides information on people who own land, property and other assets in the Gulf emirate, including several thousand Germans, the ministry said in a statement.

The aim is to identify tax offences such as undeclared income, assets that have been hidden from the authorities and illegal cross-border transactions, it said.

The Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) paid around two million euros ($2.4 million) for the data, according to Der Spiegel magazine.

"With this new data, we are illuminating the dark corners in which tax offenders have been hiding until now," said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz.

The German government has bought data on people who own land, property and other assets in Dubai. The German government has bought data on people who own land, property and other assets in Dubai. Photo: AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE

"Now it is the turn of the tax investigators to track down the offenders and bring them to justice. In this way, we will ensure that everyone makes their fair contribution," he said.

The data was handed over to the Germany's federal states on Wednesday for examination so that they can decide whether to initiate criminal proceedings, the ministry said.

Several German states have over the past decade bought CDs or USB memory sticks allegedly containing data on German taxpayers who had parked their fortunes in Swiss banks.

Fearing prosecution, many of Germany's rich and famous subsequently came forward to declare their hidden wealth, boosting the tax coffers of Europe's biggest economy by billions of euros.

But Switzerland reacted angrily, saying the data was stolen in violation of its banking secrecy laws.